New Delhi: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Wednesday held a meeting with a senior representative of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, in a clear signal to China about the Biden administration’s continued support to the Tibetan cause.
In the meeting, Ngodup Dongchung, an official in the Tibetan government-in-exile and representative of the Dalai Lama, thanked Blinken for the continued support by the US to the Tibetan movement.
When asked, a spokesperson of the US State Department told PTI, “Secretary Blinken had an opportunity to meet briefly this morning in New Delhi with a representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Central Tibetan Administration Representative Ngodup Dongchung.”
Separately, another Tibetan representative, Geshe Dorjee Damdul, attended a roundtable Blinken held with around seven civil society members.
July 6, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called up the Dalai Lama and greeted him on his 86th birthday in what is seen in some quarters as a subtle message to China in the backdrop of the festering border row in eastern Ladakh.
The 14th Dalai Lama has made India his home since fleeing China in 1959.
The Chinese government officials and the Dalai Lama or his representatives have not met in formal negotiations since 2010.
Beijing has in the past accused the Dalai Lama of indulging in “separatist” activities and trying to split Tibet and considers him as a divisive figure.
However, the Tibetan spiritual leader has insisted that he is not seeking independence but “genuine autonomy for all Tibetans living in the three traditional provinces of Tibet” under the “Middle-Way approach”.
Blinken arrived here on Tuesday evening on a two-day visit with an extensive agenda featuring the rapidly evolving security situation in Afghanistan, boosting Indo-Pacific engagement and ways to enhance COVID-19 response efforts among others.
It is Blinken’s first visit to India after assuming charge as the US Secretary of State and the third by a high-ranking Biden administration official after it came to power in January.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin visited India in March while US Special Envoy on Climate Change John Kerry travelled to New Delhi in April.