Indian Foreign secretary to visit Dharamsala: report
Phayul[Friday, July 09, 2010 18:10]

Dharamsala, July 9: India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao is visiting Dharmasala, the exile hometown of the Dalai Lama and the base for the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, Saturday but it is not known if she will meet the Tibetan leader.

Indian and Tibetan officials are so far tight-lipped on the details of Rao's visit.

"Nirupama Rao is visiting Dharamsala for two days from July 10," Bhim Sen, principal secretary to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, told IANS.

The foreign secretary is a former Indian ambassador to China.

Sen did not say if Rao would meet the Dalai Lama.

“She has been declared a state guest by the (Himachal) government," Sen said. "She will arrive July 10 and depart for Delhi the next day."

Monika Jain, director in the ministry of external affairs at McLeodganj, a hill-top town in Dharamsala, said: “The purpose of her visit will be confirmed tomorrow.”

Officials of the external affairs ministry and the Dalai Lama's office in New Delhi said they had no knowledge of the visit.

“I am not aware of it,” IANS quoted Tempa Tsering, chief representative of the Dalai Lama in New Delhi, as saying.

The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama' here in Dharamsala also did not comment on Rao's visit.

“We don't have any comments,” said Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary at the Dalai Lama's office.

IANS, however, cited a source in the Dalai Lama’s office as saying that the foreign secretary would discuss issues relating to Tibetan exiles with the Tibetan leader and with other high-ranking officials of the Tibetan administration.

The source also said the issues concerning the Tibetan leader’s security would be discussed during the visit.

Rao's visit to Dharamsala has reportedly been cancelled a number of times earlier.

“Her visits have been cancelled three to four times earlier,” Deputy Commissioner (Kangra) R.S. Gupta said.

The foreign secretary had been scheduled to visit Dharamsala July 3.