India objects to 'Thank you, India' event; McLeod Ganj is new venue

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The Tibetan government-in-exile cancelled an event at Rajghat here and shifted another to Dharamsala, that were planned to commemorate the Dalai Lama's 60th year in exile in India, a Tibetan official said on Tuesday.

We are grateful to the people and Government of India as we have been living in India for the past 60 years and government and people's support has really helped us in preserving Tibetan language, culture and religion and because of that we wanted to express our gratitude to the people and government of India and there is no political issue involved in it.

The Tibetan government-in-exile will not hold two main events in New Delhi.

"It's a very sensitive time for India and China ties and we want to ease tensions", he added.

The event "Thank You India", which was made a decision to be held at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex on April 1 in Delhi, is shifted to Dharamsala. "But that plan is now being re-worked", a Tibetan administration official said.

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The Tibetan government-in-exile had invited former PM Dr Manmohan Singh and BJP's senior leader L K Advani.

In the note to the Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, Foreign Secretary Gokhale said, "We understand that this includes a large public event titled "Thank You India" being organised at Thyagaraj Sports Complex in New Delhi on 1 April, 2018".

China considers the Dalai Lama to be a unsafe separatist and has piled pressure on foreign governments to shun him.

Relations between China and India have been tense, after their troops faced off on a disputed part of their border.

The note advising Indian officials not to attend the Dalai Lama's event apparently came from the Indian Foreign Secretary, Bijay Gokhale. The Dalai Lama is a revered religious leader and is deeply respected by people of India and accorded all freedom to carry out his religious activities in the country, MEA said, as per ANI report.

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Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, center, delivers teachings at the Thupsung Dhargyeling Monastery in Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh, India, Thursday, April 6, 2017.

The response stated "Government of India's position on His Holiness the Dalai Lama is clear and consistent".

"The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has already clarified its position on the issue last week", he said.

Gokhale's note is a reflection of India's cautious approach towards Beijing as it embarks on the task of mending fences with its northern neighbour.

Reportedly, equations with China saw a downfall, after the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh in April previous year.

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