In a development with political and diplomatic ramifications, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday spoke to the 14th Dalai Lama over the phone wished him ‘long and healthy life’ on his 86th birthday.
“Spoke on phone to His Holiness the @DalaiLama to convey greetings on his 86th birthday. We wish him a long and healthy life,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
Spoke on phone to His Holiness the @DalaiLama to convey greetings on his 86th birthday. We wish him a long and healthy life.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 6, 2021
According to a source close to Dalai Lama in Dharamshala, the Prime Minister spoke to the 14th Dalai Lama around 15-20 minutes this morning.
The tweet is being seen as a reiteration of support for the Tibetan spiritual leader, labeled as a dangerous separatist by China. Successive border standoffs and the bloody Galwan Valley clash in June 2020 have dealt a shadow over India and China ties, with New Delhi recalibrating its response to Beijing.
China has always strongly reacted to official engagement between the Dalai Lama and the leadership of India.
This is not the first time PM Modi wished Dalai Lama, earlier in 2019 the Prime Minister greeted Dalai Lama. However, Modi didn’t continue the practice last year when India was facing Chinese aggression along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh.
Meanwhile, on his birthday, the Tibetan spiritual leader said that he has taken full advantage of India’s freedom and religious harmony and is committed to reviving ancient Indian knowledge.
In a virtual address from his residence in Dharamshala, the Dalai Lama thanked people from across the globe who greeted him on his birthday and said he would continue to serve humanity and combat climate change.
“Since I became a refugee and settled in India, I have taken full advantage of India’s freedom and religious harmony. I want to assure you that for the rest of my life I am committed to reviving ancient Indian knowledge,” said the Dalai Lama, whose real name is Tenzin Gyatso.
“I really appreciate the Indian concept of secular values, not dependent on religion, such as honesty, karuna (compassion), and ahimsa (non-violence),” he added.
Reacting to the tweet, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi said it would have been better if the Prime Minister had met him in person.
“Very good, sir! But it would have sent a strong message to China had you met HH Dalai Lama in person.”
Very good, sir! But it would have sent a strong message to China had you met HH Dalai Lama in person https://t.co/gtjOwW58GB
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) July 6, 2021