PM Modi's birthday wishes to Dalai Lama 'great gesture', sends strong message to China, say Tibetan community members

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Tibetan activist Lobsang Wangyal speaking to ANI. (Photo/ANI)
Tibetan activist Lobsang Wangyal speaking to ANI. (Photo/ANI)

Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh) [India], July 6 (ANI): Members of the Tibetan community on Tuesday hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeting Dalai Lama on his 86th birthday as "a great gesture" and said "it sends a very strong message to China" and also conveys that India will "no longer be very cautious talking about Tibet".

Lobsang Wangyal, a Tibetan activist told ANI that PM Modi greeting the Tibetan spiritual leader over the phone to wish him on his 86th birthday was "a very strong message to China".

"PM Modi calling the Dalai Lama to wish him on his birthday is a great gesture, despite the border issue between India and China. This is a sign of India showing its strength. It is a very strong message to China because in the past there has never been an occasion that the Prime Minister conveyed about the greetings though such greetings may have been done behind the scenes. To do so and convey on a platform like Twitter is a huge gesture by the Government of India," he said.

Dolma Tsering, a member of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile said it is a very positive move from Prime Minister Modi.

"I think by this, PM Modi wants to send a message that India no longer is going to very cautious talking about Tibet and His Holiness because we are not talking about separating from mainland China. We're asking for genuine autonomy sitting within the basic law of China... it sends a strong message to China," she told ANI.

Tenzin Lakshay, spokesperson of Tibetan Government in-Exile said the Dalai Lama has already devolved his political powers in 2011. "So it is for China to see whether it is political or not," he said.

In a significant gesture, PM Modi spoke on phone with Dalai Lama to convey greetings on his 86th birthday. "We wish him a long and healthy life," the Prime Minister said in a tweet.

The Dalai Lama, in a video message, hailed India and said since he became a refugee and is settled in India, he has taken full advantage of "India's freedom and religious harmony".

He added that he had great respect for India's secular values such as "honesty, karuna (compassion), and ahimsa (non-violence)."

Dalai Lama was born on July 6, 1935 to a farming family in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet.

At the age of two, the child, then named Lhamo Dhondup, was recognised as the reincarnation of the previous 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.

After China's invasion of Tibet in 1950, the Dalai Lama was called upon to assume full political power. In 1959, he was forced to escape into exile. Since then, he has been living in Dharamsala. (ANI)

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