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After controversial Cabinet note, Tibet's govt-in-exile shifts event marking Dalai Lama's 60th year in exile to Dharamsala

Three days after an alleged Cabinet note urging officials to not participate in Tibet-related events became public, the Tibetan government-in-exile has changed the venue of one of the two events commemorating Dalai Lama's 60th year in exile from New Delhi to Dharamsala, Hindustan Times reported on Tuesday.

Speaking to the publication, Ngodup Dhongchung, a representative of the spiritual leader, confirmed that the event has been rescheduled. “We will now have the event in Dharamshala instead of Delhi. We will also have it on March 31 instead of April 1," Dhongchung told Hindustan Times.

The Indian Express reported that two events were to be organised to commemorate Dalai Lama's 1959 escape from Tibet. The first event is an inter-faith prayer at Rajghat on 31 March and the second is ‘Thank You India’ event at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex on 1 April. Speaking to The Indian Express, Sonam Dagpo of the Tibet government-in-exile said,"The Thyagaraj stadium event has been shifted to Dharamsala now. And the inter-faith prayer at Rajghat has been cancelled for now.”

According to Hindustan Times, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and former deputy prime minister LK Advani are supposed to be the chief guests at the 'Thank You India' event.

File image of Dalai Lama. PTI

File image of Dalai Lama. PTI

The development comes days after The Indian Express reported that Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale sent a note on 22 February after which the Cabinet Secretary directed all ministries and departments of Government of India as well as state governments not to accept any invitation or to participate in the proposed events".

The note from Gokhale came just ahead of his trip to Beijing.

The move is being seen as India's attempt to mend ties with Beijing which sharply deteriorated after the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh in April 2017 (from 4 to 12 April) last year.

China first stopped sharing upstream data on Brahmaputra from mid-May last year and then the standoff in Doklam started around mid-June which could be resolved only two-and-half months later in August.

Although the Dalai Lama is widely revered in India as a great spiritual Buddhist leader, China sees him as a "dangerous separatist".

However, the Ministry of External Affairs said that India's policy on Tibet remains unchanged.

"The government of India's position on His Holiness the Dalai Lama is clear and consistent. He is a revered religious leader and is deeply respected by the people of India," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. "There is no change in that position. His Holiness is accorded all freedom to carry out his religious activities in India," he added.

With inputs from IANS

Updated Date: Mar 06, 2018 09:24 AM

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