On the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao in Thailand, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu said on Friday India should firmly put its foot down to China's objections to Dalai Lama's planned visit to his state.
Fresh from leading the Congress to a landslide win in the remote north-eastern state, Khandu said in Itanagar his request to the government is that it should respond to China firmly and not come under "pressure" and not to be "scared" of that country.
"Government of India has clearly said that the Dalai Lama can go anywhere in India. What China is claiming is meaningless and should be ignored," he said.
Singh and Wen are due to meet in the Thai resort town of Hua Hin tomorrow on the margins of the ASEAN and East Asia Summits against the backdrop of the war of words between the two neighbouring countries over Arunachal Pradesh.
China early this week said it was "firmly opposed" to a planned visit by the Tibetan spiritual leader to Arunachal.
'China's position on so-called Arunachal Pradesh is consistent and clear and we firmly oppose the Dalai Lama's visit to the region," according to foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu.
"China is greatly concerned over the news. We believe this further exposes the Dalai Lama's nature of anti-China separatism, as is known to all," Ma added.
India's stand is that the Dalai is its guest and he is free to visit any part of our country.
Khandu has earlier too snubbed China's claim on the north-eastern state saying, "Arunachal is a part of India, China's claim is an illegal one." PTI