Amid Tensions With China, PM Modi Wishes Dalai Lama on 86th Birthday
After the face-off between Indian and Chinese troops last year, Modi had not wished the Dalai Lama in public.
Amid tensions on India's border with China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, 6 July, called the Dalai Lama on his birthday, publicly wishing him a long and healthy life, for the first time since 2014.
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, turned 86 this year.
PM Modi said in a tweet, “Spoke on phone to His Holiness the Dalai Lama to convey greetings on his 86th birthday.”
This is the first time since taking that PM Modi has publicly met or spoken with the Dalai Lama, apart from thanking him for the latter's birthday wishes. According to NDTV, PM Modi had sent a private birthday greeting to the Dalai Lama in 2019 but had not extended wishes to him in public after the clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan valley.
China does not recognise the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile.
Thanking those who had wished him, the Tibetan spiritual leader said that he would continue to serve humanity and combat climate change.
The Dalai Lama said in a virtual address that he had 'taken full advantage of India’s freedom and religious harmony' ever since he became a refugee, The Indian Express reported.
He added, “I want to assure you that for the rest of my life I am committed to reviving ancient Indian knowledge.”
The spiritual leader was quoted as saying, “All my brothers and sisters should keep these two things in mind – non-violence and compassion. On my birthday, this is my gift.”
Last year, after the face-off between Indian and Chinese troops, Modi had not wished the Dalai Lama in public, NDTV reported.
'Strong Message to China'
Taking note of Modi’s tweet, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said in a tweet, “It would have sent a strong message to China had you met HH Dalai Lama in person.”
Tibetan leaders, however, felt that PM Modi's extension of birthday wishes did send a strong message.
"This is a positive move from PM Modi on wishing happy birthday to His Holiness. PM Modi wants to send a message that India is no longer going to be very cautious talking about Tibet. It sends a very strong message to China," Dolma Tsering, member of Tibetan parliament said, according to ANI.
Lobsang Wangyal, a Tibetan activist said, "PM Modi calling the Dalai Lama to wish him on his birthday is a great gesture, despite the border issue between India and China. This is a sign of India showing its strength. It is a very strong message to China."
The current Dalai Lama assumed the position in 1940.
His birthday – on 6 July – is also celebrated as ‘World Tibet Day’ in an attempt to generate greater awareness about the problems being faced by the Tibetan population.
(With inputs from The Indian Express)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.