MEA had 'reservations' about conferring doctorate to Dalai
New Delhi: The Centre has accepted that
External Affairs Ministry had initial "reservations" about
conferring of an honorary doctorate degree to Tibetan
spiritual leader the Dalai Lama by Jamia Millia Islamia, but
later gave the nod.
The proposal by Jamia Millia to honour the Dalai Lama
did not have a smooth sailing in the External Affairs Ministry
apparently because of Chinese sensitivities.
The University had plans to award the doctorate to the
Nobel Laureate on November 23, 2010 -- a month ahead of
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India and apparently the
Ministry was apprehensive about its timing.
Vice-Chancellor Najeeb Jung then spoke to Foreign
Secretary Nirupama Rao against the backdrop of a media report
that the MEA was blocking the University's move to honour the
Dalai Lama as it came ahead of Jiabao's visit to India.
Later the nod was received and the Dalai Lama was
conferred the degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) by
Union Minister for Human Resources Development Kapil Sibal who
was the chief guest at the University's annual convocation.
"Initially, Ministry of External Affairs was having
some reservations to provide Honorary Degree to His Holiness
the Dalai Lama but later on clearance was given to honour him
with the degree by Jamia Millia Islamia," the HRD Ministry,
nearly six months after the episode, has said in an RTI
response to activist S C Agrawal.
The University had also requested Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh to accept the degree of Doctor of Letters
(Honoris Causa) at its annual convention, but the Prime
Minister's Office had sent "a polite letter of regret" to
Vice-Chancellor Jung expressing inability to accept the