Two days after China opposed a supposed visit by the Dalai Lama to Sri Lanka, an official for the Tibetan government-in-exile said the spiritual leader has no plans to visit the island nation although he has been invited.
On Tuesday, China had said Sri Lanka, currently a bankrupt nation, must safeguard its bilateral relationship with Beijing.
A top Chinese embassy official met the powerful Buddhist prelates in the central town of Kandy to express opposition to the visit, a PTI report had said quoting a statement from the Chinese embassy.
On Thursday, the official for the Tibetan government-in-exile told The Federal that the Dalai Lama did not intend visiting Sri Lanka.
“At the moment, the Dalai Lama has no plans to visit Sri Lanka,” he said.
He said the spiritual leader was urged to visit Colombo by a Sri Lankan delegation which attended a Pali conference of Buddhist monks in Bodh Gaya, Bihar last month. Monks from Sri Lanka and Thailand, among other nations, had participated in the event.
“His Holiness was invited by a Sri Lankan delegation but he did not commit to any date,” the official who did not want to be quoted by name told The Federal. “He has no plans to visit Sri Lanka at the moment.”
Asked if it would be advisable for the Dalai Lama to visit Sri Lanka in the wake of China’s objection, the official said: “This question should be asked to the Sri Lankan people, not us.”
Exile in India
The Dalai Lama has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959. India is also home to some 100,000 Tibetan exiles.
Although he has stepped down as the leader of the government-in-exile based in Dharamsala in India and he no longer advocates independence for Tibet, Beijing still calls him a “splittist” and opposes countries hosting him.
The Dalai Lama is highly respected in Sri Lanka, a Buddhist-majority country.
Source – The Federal
– With input from agencies