Event by Tibetan Parliament-in-exile: India hits out at Chinese embassy for writing to MPs

NEW DELHI, 6 Jan: Over a week after the Chinese embassy wrote to several Indian lawmakers for attending an event hosted by the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, India on Thursday asked it to refrain from such actions and said the substance, tone and tenor of the letter were “inappropriate”.

The Chinese embassy, in the letter to some of the MPs of the All-Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet, expressed concern over their attendance at the reception and asked them not to provide support to the Tibetan forces.

“We have seen the reports about the political counsellor at the Chinese embassy writing letters to honourable members of parliament on their participation in an event,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.

“The substance, tone and tenor of the letter are inappropriate. Chinese side should note that India is a vibrant democracy and Hon’ble MPs, as representatives of the people, undertake activities as per their views and beliefs,” he said.

He further said: “We expect the Chinese side to refrain from hyping normal activities by honourable MPs and complicate further the situation in our bilateral relations.”

At least six MPs from across political parties had attended the reception.

Following the letter, Sujeet Kumar, the convenor of the All-Party Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet, said that the Chinese Embassy has no locus standi to write to Indian lawmakers on the matter.

“The embassy does not have any locus standi to write to an Indian parliamentarian. If they had any issue they could have written to the Ministry of External Affairs. So they have violated the protocol,” Kumar, a BJD parliamentarian, had said.

Kumar further said the forum does intend to visit Dharamshala and also meet Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

After a failed anti-Chinese uprising in 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama fled Tibet and came to India where he set up a government-in-exile.

Beijing has in the past accused the Dalai Lama of indulging in “separatist” activities and trying to split Tibet and considers him as a divisive figure.

However, the Tibetan spiritual leader has insisted that he is not seeking independence but “genuine autonomy for all Tibetans living in the three traditional provinces of Tibet”. (PTI)