Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama said on Thursday, 14 July, that people in China were increasingly realising that he is not seeking the independence of Tibet, but autonomy and preservation of its Buddhist culture.
The spiritual leader made these comments in Jammu, from where he is scheduled to go to Ladakh on Friday and stay there for a month, his first visit after Jammu and Kashmir was divided into two Union Territories.
The visit is sure to anger China further amid tensions with India along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
Speaking to the press in Jammu, the Dalai Lama said that only some Chinese hardliners considered him to be a separatist.
"Not Chinese people, but some Chinese hardliners consider me a separatist," the spiritual leader said, adding, "Now more and more Chinese realise that Dalai Lama is not seeking independence but within China a meaningful autonomy to preserve Tibetan Buddhist culture."
The Dalai Lama was welcomed by hundreds of people as he arrived in Jammu from Himachal Pradesh's Dharamshala. It is also the leader's first visit outside Dharamshala since the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed in March 2020.
His visit comes after China had accused India of alleged interference in its internal matters. China was particularly irked after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the Dalai Lama to wish him on his 87th birthday on 6 July.
The visit also gains significance as it comes just three days before the 16th India-China Corps Commander-level talks to discuss disengagement along the LAC.
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