China said it hoped India would abide by its commitment of not letting Tibetans to engage in anti-China activities and "prudently handle" the issue so as not to "disrupt" the overall bilateral ties. Commenting for the first time on the recent meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Dalai Lama, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson told PTI that Beijing's opposition to any foreign leaders meeting the Tibetan spiritual leader has been conveyed to India.
"China opposes foreign political leaders meeting the Dalai Lama and we have made our position clear to the Indian side," the spokesperson office said replying to a query on the recent meeting between Singh and the exiled Tibetan leader. "The Indian government has on many occasions expressed that it recognised Tibet Autonomous Region as part of the territory of the People's Republic of China and it will not allow Tibetans to engage in anti-China political activities in India," it said.
"China hopes that the Indian side observes its commitments to Tibet related issues and prudently handle relevant issues so as to refrain from (causing) any disruption to the overall relationship between China and India," it said.
The spokesperson's reactions made no direct reference to External Affairs Minister S M Krishna's clarification on the issue stating that India considers the Tibetan leader an "honoured guest" but it does not "encourage" him to engage in political activities.
Seeking to downplay the issue, Krishna said India considers Tibetan Autonomous Region as part of China and his clarification "should bring down curtains on any controversy". Krishna said, "India's position (on Tibet and the Dalai Lama) has been stated repeatedly, unequivocally and categorically", that the Nobel Laureate is an "honoured guest" of India and a "spiritual leader" respected by millions of people in the country.
China's reaction to Singh's meeting with the Dalai Lama was in sharp contrast to that of the last month's meeting of Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao with the Tibetan leader. Beijing did not directly react to that meeting and commented on it only when the question was asked in a press briefing, where in the spokesperson hoped India would abide by its comments to not to allow its soil to be used by Tibetans to carry out anti-China political activities.
Rao's meeting with the Dalai Lama took place in the immediate aftermath of the visit of National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon who held talks with the Chinese leaders as Singh's Special Envoy. China considers the 75-year-old Dalai Lama as a separatist who is trying to split Tibet from China.