March 6, 2017 -- Trip to disputed area could cause 'severe damage' to India relations
China has formally expressed serious concern to India regarding the Dalai Lama's planned visit to disputed areas along the China-India border, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday, cautioning the "severe damage" it could do to bilateral ties.
Indian media reported that the so-called Arunachal Pradesh government, which is illegal, has invited the Dalai Lama to visit the eastern section of the China-India border in March.
"China's position on the eastern section of the China-India border is clear and consistent. The Dalai clique has long been engaged in anti-China separatist activities. Its record on the China-India boundary question is not that glorious," ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily media briefing in Beijing.
Since India is fully aware of the severity of the Dalai Lama issue and the sensitivity of the China-India boundary question, he said, the invitation will only damage the peace and stability of the border areas, and bilateral relations as well.
According to Geng, China firmly opposes the Dalai Lama's trip to the disputed territory and has expressed its concerns to India many times.
"We, once again, urge India to adhere to its commitments on Tibet-related issues, follow the important consensus between the two sides on the boundary question, refrain from further complicating the question and providing a stage for the Dalai clique to carry out anti-China separatist activities so as to maintain the sound and stable development of China-India relations," he added.
Fu Xiaoqiang, an expert on South Asian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said India is trying to reinforce its actual control over the disputed area by inviting the Dalai Lama to visit there.
"But this will not help solve the problem, or change the fact that it is a disputed territory," he said.
He also said that since China and India have agreed to solve the border issue through negotiations, India should stop what he described as petty moves and respect the consensus the two countries have reached.
"The Dalai Lama's acceptance of the invitation only demonstrates that he is not a purely religious figure as he claims, but a political exile who has been engaged in secessionist activities," Fu added.