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Friday, 14 January, 2000, 22:29 GMT
India and China discuss Karmapa Lama

Guard with newspaper A guard at Gyoto monastery is shown a press photo of the Karmapa Lama


India and China have held their first official discussions concerning the young Buddhist leader, the Karmapa Lama, who arrived in India from Tibet last week.

An Indian Government spokesman said foreign ministry official TCA Rangachari met the Chinese ambassor Zhou Gang in Delhi, and requested details of the Karmapa Lama's departure.


Karmapa Lama The Karmapa Lama has been kept in seclusion since his arrival in India

Mr Rangachari stressed that the Karmapa was in good health and adequate security had been provided for his safety.

China warned India earlier this week that granting political asylum to the Tibetan spiritual leader would violate what it called the principle of peaceful co-existence that forms the basis of the Sino-Indian relationship.

India says it has not received any formal asylum request from the Buddhist leader.

Pressure

However, a member of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile in northern India has written to the external affairs ministry urging Delhi to resist any pressure from China to send him back.

Dolma Gyari appealed to the Indian Government "not to succumb to Beijing's pressure for deportation of the 14-year-old boy and his entourage".

"We are concerned about the safety and security of the 17th Karmapa," she told journalists outside the foreign office in Delhi.

"He may face a very difficult situation if he returns to Beijing because he is a defector," she said.

Lunch

The Dalai Lama had lunch with the Karmapa Lama on Friday.


Dalai Lama The Dalai Lama invited the Karmapa to take lunch

The Karmapa was driven the short distance from the Gyoto monastery where he is staying to the Dalai Lama's residence at Dharamsala, accompanied by a security escort.

Tibetan officials did not say what was discussed at the meeting, the third between them since the young leader arrived in India on 5 January.

The 17th Karmapa Lama is the only senior Tibetan Buddhist leader recognised by both the Dalai Lama and China, and his flight from Tibet is seen as a blow to China's religious policy there.

The Karmapa Lama arrived in India after an arduous eight-day journey by car and on foot across the Himalayas.

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See also:
12 Jan 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Hope for an exiled people?
11 Jan 00 |  Asia-Pacific
China warns India over Lama
10 Jan 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Division in the flock
10 Jan 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Diplomatic jitters over Lama's visit
08 Jan 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Tibetan Lama meets spiritual leader
08 Jan 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Who is the Karmapa Lama?
07 Jan 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Lama's flight embarrasses Beijing

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