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India slams China's criticism of PM Modi greeting Dalai Lama on birthday

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Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, July 07: India on Thursday slammed criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishing Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on his 87th birthday, saying it has been a consistent policy of the government to treat the Dalai Lama as a guest in India.

File photo of MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi

"The PM did speak with Dalai Lama last year also, it has been a consistent policy of our govt to treat him as a guest in India. He has large followers in the country. His birthday is celebrated in India and across," MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a press briefing.

His statement came as China criticised Modi for greeting the Tibetan spiritual leader, saying India should stop using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs.

Reacting to a question on Modi's greetings, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing that "the Indian side should fully recognise the anti-China separatist nature of the 14th Dalai Lama." It should abide by its "commitment to China, speak and act prudently and stop using Tibet related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs," Zhao said.

He said the Dalai Lama is a political exile disguised as a religious figure who has long been engaged in anti-China separatist activities.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of indulging in "separatist" activities, however, the Tibetan spiritual leader insists that he is not seeking independence but "genuine autonomy for all Tibetans living in the three traditional provinces of Tibet" under the "Middle-Way approach".

PM Modi greeted the Dalai Lama over the phone as he turned 87 on Wednesday. "Conveyed 87th birthday greetings to His Holiness the Dalai Lama over the phone earlier today. We pray for his long life and good health," Modi tweeted on Wednesday. The prime minister wished him on his birthday last year as well.

The Dalai Lama's supporters celebrated the birthday at Dharamshala where the Dalai Lama lives in exile.

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