He remained non-committal on the question of his successor. It was not his business to nominate anyone, he said. "The old generation will move out and the new generation will step in."
The process of electing a new leader was being democratised and the parliament of the Tibetan refugees would elect its prime minister after a direct election on July 29, he added.
He also remained circumspect about the controversy surrounding the 17th Karmapa.
Ogyen Trinley, the youngster who escaped from his monastery in Tibet and reached India in December 1999, has been officially recognised as the 17th Karmapa and head of the rich Rumtek monastery in Sikkim by the Dalai Lama.
But Shamarpa Rimpoche, a senior lama of the Karma Kagyu sect -- one of the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism -- has been claiming that his protégé, Thaye Dorjee, is the real Karmapa, and warned that there would trouble in Sikkim if Ogyen Trinley visited Rumtek.
In order to avoid a confrontation, the Indian government has imposed travel restrictions on Ogyen Trinley, who has not been allowed to visit Sikkim.
"It is for the Government of India to decide whether the Karmapa should be allowed to visit the Rumtek monastery in Sikkim, his original seat. I do not have anything to say here," the Dalai Lama said.
Coming back to the question of talks with China, he said the last official communication between Beijing and the Tibetan government-in-exile was in October 1996. Then in 1999, the Dalai Lama's elder brother had paid a visit to Beijing, where the officials had conveyed the Chinese stand to him and he had conveyed their message to the Dalai Lama.
"In return I requested the president [of China] to allow a delegation from our side, but it was not granted," he said.
He, however, struck an optimistic note, saying that even Chinese experts on the Tibet-China issue had told him that China was changing fast, and was likely to concede the Tibetan demand for autonomy within the next 15 years.
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