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China says Dalai Lama's border visit will damage ties with India

Beijing has said India's decision to let the Dalai Lama visit the border state of Arunachal Pradesh will damage ties. New Delhi has, however, said the spiritual leader is free to travel "to any part" of India.

The Galden Namgyal Lhatse monastery is the biggest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in India

The Galden Namgyal Lhatse monastery in Arunachal Pradesh is the biggest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in India

Speaking in Beijing on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said, "China's position on the eastern section of China-India border is consistent and clear. The Dalai clique is engaged in anti-China separatist activity and has very disgraceful behavior on issues relating to China-India boundary question."

Under these conditions, the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh (pictured above) would "only damage peace, stability of the border areas as well as the bilateral relationship between China and India," Lu added.

He also called on India to "refrain from taking any action that may complicate the issue" and not provide the Tibetan spiritual leader with any platform to support anti-China activities.

Speaking on Thursday, Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup asserted that India would not bar the Nobel Peace laureate from visiting the region. "The Dalai Lama is a revered spiritual figure and an honored guest of India. He is absolutely free to travel to any part of the country," Swarup said.

The Dalai Lama last visited Arunachal Pradesh in 2009

The Dalai Lama last visited Arunachal Pradesh in 2009

"He has a sizeable following among the Buddhists in Arunachal Pradesh who would like to seek his blessings. He has visited the state in the past as well and we see nothing unusual if he visits again," he added.

The Dalai Lama sought refuge in India in the early 1950s, after Chinese troops "liberated" Tibet. The Tibetan government in exile operates from Dharamsala in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

China and India have been embroiled in a dispute concerning a 3,500-kilometer-long (2,175-mile-long) border, which led to a war in 1962. India says China occupies 38.000 square kilometers (14,600 square miles) of territory along the Aksai Chin plateau, while China claims parts of Arunachal Pradesh as "South Tibet."

mg/sms (AP, PTI)

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