Home / News / India /  Dalai Lama says seeking ‘meaningful autonomy’ from China ahead of Ladakh visit

Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama who recently marked his 87th birthday, which saw the presence of Hollywood actor Richard Gere is is visiting Ladakh, the first visit after Jammu and Kashmir was divided into two Union Territories in August 2019. This move however, might upset China causing troubles for the already problematic relationship Tibet and China shares. 

This is also the Dalai Lama's first official tour outside his base in Dharamshala since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

India has been in a military standoff between Chinese People's Liberation Army, or PLA, and the Indian Army along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) since June 2020. The Dalai Lama is scheduled to spend almost a month here in Ladakh. 

Once in Jammu, The Dalai Lama however conveyed a message for China. he mentioned that he does not seek complete independence of Tibet from China, but “a meaningful autonomy (to the region) to preserve Tibetan Buddhist culture". 

The Dalai Lama further stated," Not the Chinese people but some Chinese hardliners consider me a separatist and criticise me". He further said that the Chinese are realising that Buddhism is a very scientific religion.

The Dalai Lama, throughout his life in exile, has achieved prominence among the world's political, religious, and social leaders as a universal icon of peace, harmony and non-violence.

The Dalai Lama has also successfully exposed the anti-democratic, anti-religious, and anti-humanistic attitude of China and the untold sufferings of the Tibetans under the Chinese administration.

China continues to sinicize Buddhism in Tibet, trying to prevent the people from exercising their spiritual practices. Recently China imposed a ban on sharing religious content on social media.

“More and more Chinese are showing interest about Tibetan Buddhism. Some of the Chinese scholars have realised that Tibetan Buddhism is a treasure trove of knowledge and a very scientific religion," The Dalai Lama said.

The Dalai Lama, however, refused to comment on the Chinese aggression in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

“My message wherever I go is that human beings are brothers and sisters, and there is no point in fighting. ‘My country, my religion’ is too narrow an ideology. Human beings should live together in total harmony," he said.

The Tibetan spiritual leader is on a two-day visit to Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. He will be in Leh on Friday, where he is expected to visit the famous Thiksey monastery.

Earlier this month, Beijing criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for greeting the Dalai Lama on his 87th birthday, saying India should stop using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs. However, India rejected China's criticism and asserted that it is a consistent policy to treat the Dalai Lama as an honoured guest of the country.

Further, China had strongly objected to constitutional changes in Jammu and Kashmir and carving out Ladakh as a Union Territory in August 2019.

The Union external affairs ministry slammed China’s criticism and said that it has been a consistent policy of the Indian government to treat the Dalai Lama as a state guest.

"My main message to the people is that we all are brothers and sisters and there is no point in fighting... the fight is triggered by narrow-mindedness when they start thinking (things) like 'my nation, my ideology'," he said.

Humanity demands that "we live together, whether we like it or not. There might be some problems like in a family which can be solved through talks," the Dalai Lama added.

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