India on Thursday sought to downplay China's 'grave concerns' over the upcoming visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh. Beijing had last week raised the issue cautioning it was 'strongly opposed' to the visit and it could lead to 'serious damage' to bilateral relations.
New Delhi reiterated its earlier stance on Thursday.
Gopal Baglay, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs in response to a question said, "As far as it pertains to His Holiness Dalai Lama, let me say that the government's position in this regard has been consistent. He is a revered religious figure, who is treated as such by the government and the people of India."
Earlier on Friday, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang addressing a media briefing said, "China's position on the eastern section of the China-India border dispute is consistent and clear. The Dalai clique has long been engaging in anti-China separatist activities and its record on the border question is not that good."
"India is fully aware of the seriousness of Dalai Lama issue and the sensitivity of China-India border question. Under such a background if India invites the Dalai Lama to visit the mentioned territory, it will cause serious damage to peace and stability of the border region and China-India relations," Geng had added.
The spiritual leader of the Tibetans will be hosted by the Tawang Buddhist Monastery along with the Arunachal Pradesh government from April 4-13.
Beijing had earlier objected to His Holiness sharing the stage with Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi during an event at Rashtrapati Bhawan, Delhi.
However, India has maintained the Dalai Lama is solely a religious figure. "Government has no say in his travels within India and no political meaning should be attached to it as such," Baglay responded.