Martin to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Dharamsala, 13 April: In a positive development in the ongoing three nation-tour of His Holiness the Dalai Lama the Canadian Prime Minister has put aside his country’s business interests and decided to meet with the 69-year-old Nobel laureate.
“He’ll be meeting (with the Dalai Lama) in his capacity as a spiritual leader so we’re trying to arrange something that will fit within that frame,” said Mario Lague, director of communications for the prime minister.
China – which has grown to become Canada’s fourth largest export market – has urged Martin not to meet with the Dalai Lama. The Chinese embassy in Ottawa issued a statement last week saying no Canadian government officials should meet with the Dalai Lama “in any capacity and in any form so as not to upset or damage the bilateral relations” between the two countries.
Meanwhile, the Canadian media has attributed the pressure from China to His Holiness’ seeking independence from China since 1959 but the exile administration based in Dharamsala has consistently made its stand clear that it seeks a ‘genuine autonomy’ and not independence from China.
However, His Holiness’ office refrained from criticising Martin. Tenzin Taklha of His Holiness’ Private Office was quoted by AFP as saying that His Holiness the Dalai Lama doesn’t want to cause inconvenience to anybody.