Arunachal monastery prepares to welcome Dalai Lama
Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh): Around 400 Lamas are holding special prayers daily at the Tawang monastery as it prepares to welcome Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama next month amid stiff opposition by China to his Arunahcal Pradesh visit.
The Tibetan leader arrives Nov 8 at the Tawang monastery in India's northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China.
"Preparations are going on in full swing to the welcome the Dalai Lama with about 400 Lamas holding special daily prayers at the Tawang monastery to ensure a safe and peaceful visit to the region," T.G. Rinpoche, a senior Buddhist spiritual leader who is also a former ruling Congress party lawmaker of Arunachal Pradesh, said.
"It is a purely religious visit and during his four-day stay at the Tawang monastery, the Dalai Lama will give sermons to his followers," Rinpoche said.
The Dalai Lama is also expected to inaugurate a superspeciality hospital at Tawang.
It was through Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh that in 1959 the Dalai Lama escaped the Chinese to enter India.
The Buddhist leader will also visit the adjoining town of Bomdilla and Dirang, before leaving for state capital Itanagar. The visit ends Nov 15.
China recently raked up a controversy by asking India not to allow the Tibetan spiritual leader to visit Arunachal Pradesh.
The Indian government has already cleared the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh despite China's opposition.
"There is no way China can stop the Dalai Lama from visiting Arunachal Pradesh as it is an integral part of India," Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu said.
The mountainous state of Arunachal Pradesh shares a 1,030-km unfenced border with China.
India and China fought a border war in 1962, with Chinese troops advancing deep into Arunachal Pradesh and inflicting heavy casualties on Indian troops.
The border dispute with China was inherited by India from British colonial rulers, who hosted a 1914 conference with the Tibetan and Chinese governments that set the border in what is now Arunachal Pradesh.
China has never recognised the 1914 McMahon Line and claims 90,000 sq km, nearly all of Arunachal Pradesh. India in turn accuses China of occupying 8,000 sq km in Kashmir.
Tensions flared up again in 1986 with Indian and Chinese forces clashing in Sumdorong Chu valley of Arunachal. Chinese troops reportedly built a helipad in the valley leading to fresh skirmishes along the border.