DHARAMSHALA: In what has been termed as a “courtesy call”, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat called on Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at his residence in McLeodganj, Dharamshala, on Monday. The meeting between the two lasted an hour, following which Tibetan government-in-exile president Penpa Tsering, speaker Sonam Temphel and other cabinet members also met the RSS chief.
India has been Tibet’s strongest supporter since March 1959, when Tibet went under Chinese-occupation. Some 1,40,000 Tibetans now live in exile, with over 1,00,000 of them in different parts of India. The Tibetan government-in-exile is not recognised by any country other than India.
Speaking to the media, Tsering said, “It is very natural that RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat ji should visit His Holiness when he is in Dharamshala. It’s an opportunity for us to thank the government and people of India for the support that the consecutive governments of India and people of India have rendered to us so it’s natural and then both are eminent leaders.”
Though the details on the discussions have not been disclosed, Tsering said the two leaders possibly “talked about the larger interest of humanity on major issues”. Tsering and his cabinet and speaker of the Tibetan parliament also took an opportunity to give the RSS chief a courtesy call and thank the government and people of India for their support. “We also discussed the status of Independent Tibet before China’s occupation and he assured us all the support from the public,” he shared.
During his five-day visit to Kangra and Dharamshala, the RSS chief yesterday attended a seminar in Kangra where about 50 intellectuals, including Sonam Tenphel, were invited. In pictures released by the Tibetan government-in-exile, Bhagwat can be seen gifting a Ganesha idol to the Dalai Lama, who was wearing a Himachali cap.