China rakes up Dalai, Tibet issues with Patil

China raised the activities of Dalai Lama with President Patil, striking a discordant note.

Beijing: China today raised the "activities" of the Dalai Lama with President Pratibha Patil and sought a reiteration of India`s stand that Tibet is a part of it, striking a somewhat discordant note in her discussions which have otherwise been described as "fruitful."

Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the Chinese People`s Political
Consultative Conference (CPPCC), who is ranked fourth in the
Chinese leadership hierarchy, brought up these issues during
his meeting with Patil, a day after her discussions with
President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao at which no such
issue was raised.

Downplaying the episode, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao
said that the Chinese had sought reiteration of India`s stand
on Tibet and an assurance that anti-China activities are not
permitted on the Indian soil.

"It often happens that in course of discussions between
India and China all issues are raised.... it is a complex
relationship", she told reporters, adding that there were many
issues on which the two sides have sought "greater awareness
of each other`s concerns".

The 70-year-old Jia, who presides over the 2196-strong
CPPCC, regarded as China`s top political advisory body,
described the Dalai Lama as more of a political leader than a
spiritual figure. Patil had called the Dalai Lama as a
spiritual leader who stays in India.

On Tibet, Patil is believed to have told Jia that
India regards Tibet Autonomous Region as a part of China and
it does not allow any anti-China activities by Tibetans based
in India.

The President is believed to have cited the example
of the passage of the Olympic torch through India ahead of the
Beijing Olympics two years ago when the government had taken
steps to ensure that nothing untoward happened.

Later, at her first public speech during her six-day
State Visit, Patil sent a subtle but clear message to this
country`s leadership saying "mutual understanding of each
other`s sensitivities" held the key to "deeper and sturdier
friendship" between the two Asian giants.