India-China talks called off over Dalai Lama speech plan
Nov 27, 2011, 10:24 GMT
New Delhi - Border-dispute talks between Indian and Chinese diplomats, scheduled to take place on Monday in New Delhi, have been called off after Beijing objected to a planned speech by Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.
An Indian Foreign Ministry official said Sunday that the meeting between Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo and Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, was cancelled.
Although the official declined to elaborate further, Indian media outlets, citing government sources, said Beijing had wanted India to stop the Dalai Lama from addressing a Buddhist convention in the coming days.
India refused, saying the Dalai Lama was free to speak on spiritual matters, the Times of India newspaper reported.
China accuses the Dalai Lama of being a separatist who is inciting violence in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The Dalai Lama says he merely wants greater autonomy for Tibet within China.
The Dalai Lama fled to India's northern town of Dharamsala in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese rule and founded Tibet's government in exile.
The Tibet issue has flared in recent months, with 11 monks and nuns immolating themselves in protest at China's religious repression.
Tensions between India and China have also been strained by Beijing's claims of sovereignty over the South China sea and its participation in infrastructure building in the disputed Kashmir region.
China and India have held 14 rounds of talks over border disputes after the neighbours fought a brief war over the issue in 1962.
'We are looking forward to the 15th round of talks in the near future and the two sides remain in touch to find convenient dates for the meeting,' India's foreign office said in a statement.
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