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India's foreign secretary meets Dalai Lama

July 13, 2010

Agence France-Press (AFP)
July 10, 2010

DHARAMSHALA, India -- India's foreign secretary
Nirupama Rao met exiled Tibetan spiritual leader,
the Dalai Lama, in this northern Indian hill
station for talks on Saturday, officials said.

Rao "called on His Holiness the Dalai Lama and
the two discussed issues of common interest,"
Tenzin Taklha, a spokesman for the Dalai Lama, told AFP.

He would not elaborate on the Dalai Lama's
meeting with Rao in Dharamshala, home to the
Tibetan government-in-exile since the spiritual
leader fled to India more than half a century ago
after China crushed an uprising in Tibet.

Rao is the most senior civil servant in the Indian foreign ministry.

Indian government officials declined to comment
on Rao's meeting with the Dalai Lama, who
celebrated his 75th birthday earlier in the week,

Her visit to Dharamshala came days after she
accompanied India's National Security Advisor
Shivshankar Menon on a trip to China, where he met senior Chinese leaders.

China calls the Dalai Lama a "wolf in monk's
clothing" and accuses him of seeking to split the
country. The Buddhist leader has repeatedly said
he accepts Beijing's rule and is only seeking "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet.

Indian newspapers had reported the discussions
between Rao and the exiled Tibetan leadership
could touch on the activities of Tibetan exiles
in India. More than 100,000 Tibetan exiles live in 19 settlements across India.

China has in the past accused the Dalai Lama of
seeking to stir up tensions between New Delhi and Beijing.

Indo-Chinese relations have become increasingly
prickly in recent times over such issues as trade
and their disputed Himalayan border -- the
trigger for a brief, bloody war in 1962.
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