Day Before Key Meeting With China On 'Border Situation,' India's PM Modi Greets Dalai Lama 'Happy Birthday'

Zinger Key Points
  • India's Modi calls Dalai Lama to greet him on his 87th birthday
  • China which sees the spiritual leader as a separatist element may not cherish the development

India may have ruffled some feathers in neighboring China on Wednesday ahead of a key meeting between the two countries' top representatives.

What Happened: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is quite active on Twitter, posted that he called up the Dalai Lama, to convey his wishes on the spiritual leader's 87th birth anniversary. "We pray for his long life and good health," Modi added in the tweet.

A few Indian government officials also joined in celebrations held either by the Tibetian government-in-exile or organizations elsewhere.

Related Link: Xi Jinping Could Have Had A Close COVID-19 Encounter As He Made First Trip Outside Mainland China Last Week

Why It's Important: Modi's gesture may not go down well with China and its President Xi Jinping.

China annexed Tibet in 1951 and has been controlling the Himalayan country since.

Following the annexation, the Dalai Lama and some of his followers fled the country and have since been living in Dharamsala in northern India. The Tibetan government-in-exile also operates out of the same city.

Given the influence of the Dalai Lama in matters concerning Tibet and its people, China now wants to have a say in the appointment of the next spiritual leader. Usually, the incumbent picks his successor. This is the second year in running Modi has made public his call to the Buddhist monk to greet him on his birthday. Last year's greetings came in the wake of the bilateral relations between China and India dipping to a new low after a standoff between the two countries along the 'Line of Actual Control.'

India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Bali, Indonesia a day later on Thursday. Jaishankar in a tweet said the duo's discussions focused on "specific outstanding issues in our bilateral relationship pertaining to the border situation."

Posted In: EurasiaNarendra ModiXi JinpingGovernmentNewsPoliticsMediaGeneral

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