New Delhi: India has urged the Dalai Lama not to indulge in political activities that hurt its ties with China, in remarks that analysts said were an attempt to placate Beijing and show it was acting against Tibetan protesters.
”He is a respected guest in India,” foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee said, in comments aired by television channels on Tuesday.
”India will continue to offer him all hospitality, but during his stay in India, they should not do any political activity, any action that can adversely affect relations between India and China.”
Dharamsala, home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan ”government-in-exile”, has been the epicentre of protests against China’s crackdown in Tibet.
Tibetan protesters also stormed the Chinese embassy in New Delhi last month, prompting Beijing to summon the Indian ambassador and express its displeasure.
The protests have come as an embarrassment for India, at a time when it is trying to build closer ties with China and repair decades of mistrust and even hostility dating back to a 1962 border war.
Analysts said the message was less for the Dalai Lama and more for China.
”Its a strong message that goes out to Beijing that we are doing your bidding,” Bharat Karnad, an international affairs expert, told Reuters.
India has tried to reassure Beijing that security will be tight for the Olympics torch during its Indian leg relay.
But the country’s football captain, Bhaichung Bhutia, a Buddhist, has refused to carry the Olympic torch in protest against China’s actions to quell unrest in Tibet, an official said on Tuesday.