The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday issued a clarification on Indian govt's stand on Dalai Lama after media reports surfaced stating that the Union government had advised central and state functionaries to avoid going to events organized by Tibetan leaders in India.
"Government of India's position on His Holiness the Dalai Lama is clear and consistent. He is a revered religious leader and is deeply respected by the people of India. There is no change in that position. His Holiness is accorded all freedom to carry out his religious activities in India," the MEA spokesperson said in response to queries over the news report.
According to the news report, Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, acting on a note sent to him by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, sent out directions asking "senior leaders" and "government functionaries" from both Centre and states to desist from participating in events organized by the "Tibetan leadership in India".
Sinha's directive reportedly was specific to March-end and early-April events that are being planned to mark the start of 60 years in exile of the Dalai Lama. Sinha's note, the report said, underlined that this was a "very sensitive time" for India-China relations.
China considers the Dalai Lama to be a separatist and expresses displeasure when government leaders - Indian or foreign - meet the Tibetan leader, who has been living in exile in India for the past six decades.