PM Modi calls Dalai Lama on his birthday, prays for his ‘long life and good health’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Wednesday that he called up the Dalai Lama to wish the Tibetan spiritual leader on his 87th birthday. This is the second year in a row that PM Modi has announced his phone call to the Tibetan spiritual leader on his birthday.

Modi tweeted on Wednesday, “Conveyed 87th birthday greetings to His Holiness the @DalaiLama over phone earlier today. We pray for his long life and good health.”

Amid the slide in ties with China over the military standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, PM Modi had spoken to the Dalai Lama last year and wished him on his birthday.

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In 2021, it was the first time Modi had publicly announced that he had spoken to the Tibetan spiritual leader on the latter’s birthday. In September 2015, he had thanked the Dalai Lama for the latter’s birthday wishes to him.

PM Modi’s phone calls to the Tibetan spiritual leader and its public announcement for two years in a row have diplomatic significance given that Beijing calls the Dalai Lama a “splittist”.

PM Modi’s public articulation of his call to the Dalai Lama comes when ties between India and China are at their lowest, with the LAC standoff continuing. Delhi’s move signals that if its sensitivities are not respected, it will not hesitate to subtly up the rhetoric.

New Delhi has maintained that the two sides should be mindful of “mutual sensitivities, interests and concerns”.

The fact that the Chinese have not bothered about Indian “sensitivities” on the India-China border, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or the status of Jammu and Kashmir, has led New Delhi to recalibrate its position.

There have been some moves in recent months by Beijing to put the relationship back on track, as Chinese Foreign minister Wang Yi had visited India in March this year. But, Delhi has maintained that the bilateral ties cannot be back on track unless the border standoff is resolved. The BRICS leaders’ summit in June took place through virtual mode, despite Beijing’s effort to have an in-person meeting.

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