Vice-President Ansari calls off meeting with the Dalai Lama

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New Delhi, Mar.25 : Vice-President Hamid Ansari has called off his proposed meeting with Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in the wake of Beijing's strong objections.

The Indian Express quoted sources as saying that the meeting with Ansari was slotted at least two months in advance, but Chinese queries prompted the government to advise the Vice-President to call off the appointment.

The meeting was eventually cancelled with officials claiming that it was anyhow tentative and that the Vice-President, like any other Constitutional post, goes by the government's advice when it involves meeting foreign dignitaries.

This allowed India to clarify to China that no such meeting was in the offing and neither does the Vice-President have any such plans.

The Dalai Lama has, in the past, also made requests to meet President Pratibha Patil but has never been given an appointment.

Earlier, the Chinese Government had summoned India's Ambassador to China, Nirupama Rao, to lodge a strong protest over ten Tibetan protestors managing to scale the Chinese embassy walls in Delhi before being caught by security officials.

According to the paper, the Chinese authorities in Beijing summoned Rao at around 2 a.m. that night and formally protested against the incident. They expressed concern over the safety and security of their diplomatic staff and handed over a list of likely Tibetan protests in India ahead of the Olympics.

For its part, India reassured China that its policy was consistent and there was no change in its policy on the Tibet issue and this assurance is learnt to have gone from the Prime Minister's Office.

ANI

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