By Tenzin Dharpo
Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Phayul file photo
DHARAMSHALA, May 22: What seemed days ago to be a major behind-the-scene revelation in the Tibet-China diplomacy has been played down following its denial from the private office of the Dalai Lama.
After a book by noted Indian journalist claimed the Dalai Lama said that a 2014 meeting between him and the incumbent Chinese President Xi Jinping in New Delhi was nixed by the Indian government, the private office of the Tibetan leader has responded counter to the claims made by the book.
Senior official and Secretary in the Dalai Lama’s private office Chime R. Chhoekyapa has stated in a statement to AFP that a meeting although proposed by the Tibetan side never came to an agreement from the Chinese side.
He said, "Although we had proposed a meeting between His Holiness and President Xi Jinping during his visit to India in 2014, the Chinese authorities had not given a definite response. Therefore, there was no basis for the government of India being cautious of the initiative."
An excerpt from the recently released book ‘Defining India, through their eyes’ by Sonia Singh, the Editorial Director for NDTV news agency stated that the Dalai Lama as saying, “In 2014, when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Delhi for talks with Prime Minister Modi, I requested a meeting with him. President Xi Jinping agreed, but the Indian government was cautious about the meeting, so it didn't happen.”
Singh said her transcripts of the interview to the Dalai lama’s office for approval received no objections.
The ageing Tibetan leader who is widely seen as the spearhead of Tibet and the political movement of the Tibetans has become an integral part of the geo-political discourse, particularly when it concerns the two largest powers in Asia: China and India, rendering many to label him as New Delhi’s trump card when dealing with China.
On the ground, the talks between Beijing and the Tibetan side have stalled since 2010 after nine rounds of meeting. The two envoys, Lodi G. Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen resigned in June 2012 citing lack of genuine conviction to resolve the issue from Beijing. The exile Tibetan government, known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration continues to call out Beijing for dialogue.