Dalai envoy praises India’s ‘free democracy’

New Delhi, Nov 28 (IANS) The Dalai Lama’s envoy here lauded India’s ‘free democracy’ and said New Delhi has done ‘the right thing’ by letting the the Tibetan spiritual leader to speak at the Buddhist conference.

‘India is a free democratic society. China is a closed society; that’s why they are reacting in a paranoid manner,’ Tempa Tsering, chief representative of the Dalai Lama, told IANS when asked about Chinese objections to the Global Buddhist Conference that entered its second day.

Tsering protested against what he said was a Chinese design to give political complexion to a religious event, saying by refusing to cave in India ‘has done the right thing’.

‘The Dalai Lama has been a guest of India for 52 years. It would have been unusual if the Dalai Lama, regarded the world over as a spiritual leader and head of Tibetan Buddhism, will not attend this conference,’ he said.

‘The government of India has done the right thing to let the Dalai Lama speak at the conference,’ he said.

Tsering, a participant, underlined the religious nature of the Buddhist conference which he said was aimed at evolving a Buddhist response to key global challenges.

‘They (conference) have no other motive other than to bring Buddhist scholars together to discuss Buddhist philosophy and share experiences of how the Buddhist teachings can help humanity,’ Tsering said at Hotel Lalit where some sessions of the conference were held.

Tsering’s comments came even as China Monday said it was opposed to any country that ‘provide[d] a platform’ for the Dalai Lama and his ‘anti-China activities’.

Beijing claimed that the Dalai Lama ‘is not a purely religious figure but the one who has been engaged in separatist activities for a long time, under the pretext of religion’.

Around 900 Buddhist scholars and followers from several countries are participating in the Buddhist conference that began in New Delhi Sunday.