Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama said that he was not seeking independence but 'meaningful autonomy' for Tibet. He made the statement after arriving in Jammu on Thursday.
The Dalai Lama will be flying to Ladakh on Friday, where he will meet Buddhists leaders in Leh and Kargil districts. He is also expected to visit the famous Thiksey monastery in Leh.
The top spiritual leader is visiting Ladakh amid the ongoing standoff between the Centre and the political and religious parties of Ladakh over the demand for Sixth Schedule status for the region. Ladakh was made a Union Territory after it was separated from Jammu and Kashmir in 2019.
The Dalai Lama said it is not the Chinese people, but some hardliners in that country who consider him a separatist. “Now, more and more Chinese are realising that the Dalai Lama is not seeking independence, but only wishing China (to give) meaningful autonomy (to Tibet) and (ensure) preservation of Tibetan Buddhist culture,’’ he said in reply to a question on China's objection to his visit to Ladakh.
He also said more and more Chinese are showing interest about Tibetan Buddhism.
The External Affairs Ministry has rejected China's criticism and said that it has been a consistent policy of the government to treat the Dalai Lama as a guest in India.
This is the Dalai Lama's first tour outside Dharamshala, the base of Tibetan refugees in India, after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.