Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: South Asia
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Mike Wooldridge in Dehli
"There appears to be no imminent move that he be asked to leave India"
 real 28k

Sunday, 16 January, 2000, 16:00 GMT
Karmapa Lama 'to stay in India'

Lama's presence could strain relations with China

A top Indian politician has said the young Buddhist leader, the Karmapa Lama, can stay in the country - for now.

Defence Minister George Fernandes said the 14-year-old spiritual leader could stay in India while the investigation into his secret flight from Tibet continued.

India has not received a formal asylum request
George Fernandes
China had earlier warned India that granting political asylum to the Tibetan spiritual leader would violate "the principle of peaceful co-existence that forms the basis of the Sino-Indian relationship".

Mr Fernandes said he could not see why the Karmapa wanting to stay in India for a while should impinge on relations with Beijing.

And India had not received any formal asylum request from the Buddhist leader, he said.

Correspondents said that although the defence minister was one of the few in Delhi to have spoken out about the issue, there were no imminent moves to ask the Karmapa Lama to leave India.

High-ranking monk

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.

Dalai Lama The young Buddhist leader is staying at the Dalai Lama's monastry
The Karmapa - who ranks third behind the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama - is at the well-guarded headquarters-in-exile of the Dalai Lama, on the outskirts of Dharamsala.

The young lama arrived in India on 5 January after an arduous eight-day journey by car and on foot across the Himalayas.

The Dalai Lama's officials said he fled Chinese pressure on the Buddhist monasteries in Tibet.

China said he had left to collect the black crown and musical instruments associated with his Buddhist lineage.

The 16th Karmapa brought the crown with him when he fled Chinese-ruled Tibet in 1959, and deposited it in his monastery at Rumtek, which is now part of India.

The young lama himself has yet to give his own version of events - and correspondents say he is not likely to until India decides on what terms he might be allowed to stay in the country.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

Boy Lama
Should India grant him asylum?
South Asia Contents

Country profiles

See also:
14 Jan 00 |  South Asia
India and China discuss Karmapa Lama
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

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories