Dalai Lama greets Modi on 71st birthday

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Friday greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 71st birthday, saying the growing confidence he has brought about, despite challenges like the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Modi, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, wrote: “I offer my heartfelt greetings to you on your birthday. May you continue to live a long and healthy life.

“As someone who cares deeply about this country, I congratulate you on the growing confidence you have brought about, despite challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected people around the globe. As the most populous democratic nation in the world, India’s success benefits not only the people of India, but also contributes to the development of the world as a whole.

“I am convinced that the age-old Indian traditions of doing no harm — ahimsa, backed by a compassionate motivation — karuna, are not only relevant but are necessary in today’s world. I also believe these principles can be readily combined with modern education for the wider benefit of humanity.

“Whenever I have the occasion to do so, I regularly commend India for its robust democracy, its deeply rooted religious pluralism and for its remarkable harmony and stability.

“For us Tibetans living in exile, India is not only our spiritual refuge, but for more than 62 years has also been our physical home. May I again take the opportunity to offer our deep gratitude to the government and people of India for the warm and generous hospitality we have received.”

In conclusion, the spiritual leader offered his prayers and good wishes.

Beijing regards the Dalai Lama, who is based in the northern Indian hill town Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, as a ‘separatist’. It is sensitive to him meeting international leaders, attending official functions or visiting places at the invitation of the Indian government.

Amid relations between India and China worsening in the recent months and in a strategic shift, Prime Minister Modi on July 6 made a clear-cut departure from the policies of the successive governments of ‘making distance’ of sorts from the Dalai Lama by extending greetings to him on his 86th birthday.

The Dalai Lama is the recipient of over 150 global awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, UN Environment Award, US Congressional Gold Medal, John Templeton Award, etc.