Nirupama Rao concludes Dharamsala visit
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Last Updated: Sunday, July 11, 2010, 15:10
  
Dharamsala: Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on Sunday flew back to Delhi after holding talks with the Dalai Lama here, an official said. There was no indication of the nature of the talks or its timing.

"Rao and the official (Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary, East Asia, in the external affairs ministry) accompanying her went back to Delhi," Superintendent of Police Atul Fulzele told a news agency.

Rao met the Dalai Lama as well as other high-ranking officials of the Tibetan government-in-exile, including Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche, here on Saturday afternoon.

The weekend talks at the official palace of the Tibetan spiritual leader lasted about 90 minutes.

After the talks, Tenzin Taklha, joint secretary in the Dalai Lama's office, said: "Issues of common interest were discussed at the meeting." He did not elaborate.

Officials of the external affairs ministry in New Delhi refused to comment on the meeting and the purpose of Rao's visit.

Reacting to the meeting, Chimme Choekyappa, private secretary to the Dalai Lama, said: "We welcome all Indian officials and express our gratitude."

The timing of the meeting between the Dalai Lama and Rao, a former ambassador to China, comes days after National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon visited the Chinese capital as the prime minister's special envoy and met the Chinese leadership.

On Saturday evening, Rao and foreign ministry officials accompanying her visited the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, where a cultural programme was organised.

"Rao was spellbound by the Tibetan culture and tradition. She also attended a dinner hosted by the government-in-exile in her honour. High-ranking officials of the administration, including Rinpoche attended," an official said.

India recognizes Tibet Autonomous Region as a part of China.

The Dalai Lama, who believes in the "middle-path" policy that demands greater autonomy for the Tibetans while accepting Beijing's sovereignty, is viewed by the Chinese as a "traitor" who is bent on splitting Tibet from China.

Some 140,000 Tibetans now live in exile, over 100,000 of them in different parts of India. Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.

IANS


First Published: Sunday, July 11, 2010, 15:10


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