Dharamshala: Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Shanta Kumar has called on the Centre to honour Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, with the country`s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.
Speaking at the release of his book `Himalaya Par Lal Chaya` at Tsuglagkhang, at the main Buddhist temple in Dharamsala Kumar said, "I strongly urge the Indian government to confer the prestigious Bharat Ratna Award on the Dalai Lama. It would be a great example of India`s faith on Tibet."
The 14th Dalai Lama also launched another book, `If Autumn Comes`, written by Kumar`s wife.
Kumar added that many countries have already awarded the leader for his promotion of peace, and India should not lag behind.
The Tibetan administration-in-exile is based in Dharamsala and over one lakh exiled Tibetans live there.
The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 after fleeing a Chinese crackdown in Lhasa.
Thousands of Tibetans have followed him to India, where they live in 50 settlements spread across the country.China has ruled remote and mountainous Tibet with an iron hand since the People`s Liberation Army marched into the region in 1950.
Critics accuse China of repressing Tibetans` religious aspirations, especially their veneration for the Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.