In a move which can attract more attention and criticism from China, Arunachal Pradesh will see the visit of Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama early in 2017. Narendra Modi-led government has cleared his visit, even after the recent hosting of US envoy received a lot of protests from our neighbour. According to a report in The Hindu, the invitation to Dalai Lama was extended on October 9, with an aim to make his followers in Arunachal meet the spiritual leader. He will be in the state for a fortnight and visit Tawang, Itanagar and other eastern parts of Arunachal. Meanwhile, US envoy Richar Verma’s October 21 visit to Arunachal received a lot of protests and criticism from China, but the Ministry of External Affairs had dismissed their opposition saying that the northeastern state is an important and integral part of India. China, however, claimed that it is a disputed region between the two countries.
TOI also cited sources in Tibetan government in exile who confirmed the proposed Dalai lama visit to Arunachal in 2017. This move will undoubtedly grab some eyeballs in Beijing, China who will not sit quietly. China had also protested in 2009 when Dalai Lama had planned to visit the Indian state. This move will raise eyebrows in Beijing. In 2009, China had protested against a similar plan by the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh for the Tawang festival. The Hindu reported that there is no religious occasion for the visit, but he would come only because of a ‘special connection’ that he shares, especially with Tawang, as that is the route which he took to come to India. In the year 1959, the Dalai Lama came to India after fleeing China. Interestingly, Yang Jiechi the state councillor for China is scheduled to visit India soon, and it is expected that he will take up the issue with the Indian government. He also serves as a special representative for border talks with India.