China warned on Wednesday that it would take “necessary measures” to defend its territorial sovereignty and interests after India “obstinately” allowed the Dalai Lama to visit the “disputed” parts of Arunachal Pradesh causing “serious damage” to the bilateral ties.
China claims parts of Arunachal Pradesh as southern Tibet and had previously warned that if India allowed the visit of the Dalai Lama, whom it calls an “anti-China separatist”, it would cause “serious damage” to ties. China is sensitive to the Dalai Lama's visit to Tawang region in Arunachal which happens to be the birthplace in 1683 of the sixth Dalai Lama and is at the centre of Tibetan Buddhism.
On Tuesday, Minister of Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said India never interfered in Beijing's affairs, has respected the ‘One China’ policy, and thus China should not interfere in India's internal affairs or object to the Dalai Lama's visit. “There is no political angle behind his holiness's visit to Arunachal Pradesh. It is completely a religious one.”
Separately, the External Affairs Ministry has said that no “artificial controversy” should be created about the visit.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying rejected Rijiju's comments, saying, “China upholds the policy of not interfering with other countries’ internal affairs. This is unquestionable.”
About Rijiju's comments that it was a religious visit and should not be politicised, she said, “We have noted the statement of the official from the Indian side.”
“Could you tell me honestly that you seriously believe that Dalai is only a religious leader. I think the answer is known to all. He is not just a religious figure. Therefore, his visit to the place will not be purely of religious purpose. So using the empty words to defend this arrangement is not reasonable. We demand the Indian side to stop this move of undermining Chinese interests,” she said.
“China's stand on the eastern part of the borders is consistent and clear. India is keenly aware of the role played by the 14th Dalai Lama. Arranging his visit to those sensitive and disputed areas not only runs counter to the Indian side's commitment to the issues related to Tibet but also escalates disputes over the border area,” she added.