By Tendar Tsering
Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai (file photo)
DHARAMSHALA, June 8: Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai yesterday paid a “courtesy visit” to Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the latter’s exile residence in Dharamshala.
Chimme Rinzin Choekyapa, secretary of the Dalai Lama told Phayul that Secretary Mathai’s visit was a “routine courtesy call.”
Ranjan Mathai, who assumed the Foreign Secretary post in August last year, held closed-door talks with the Tibetan spiritual leader for over an hour Thursday afternoon.
“The Foreign Secretary of India, Ranjan Mathai visited the Dalai Lama yesterday on a courtesy visit,” Rinzin said. “The two had a detailed talk on a range of topics.”
Defying media speculations, the private secretary of the Dalai Lama pointed out that the meeting had “no specific agendas,” while adding that Indian foreign secretaries in the past have routinely visited the Dalai Lama.
“Over the last 6-7 years of my service at the Private Office, I have seen Indian foreign secretaries visiting His Holiness the Dalai Lama on courtesy visits as His Holiness is a special guest in India,” Rinzin said. “Before Secretary Ranjan, former foreign secretaries Nirupama Rao and Shivshankar Menon had also visited the Dalai Lama.”
According to Rinzin, Secretary Ranjan had planned to visit the Dalai Lama soon after assuming his office last year, but due to scheduling problems, the meeting could be held only yesterday.
The 76-year old Tibetan spiritual leader is currently giving a three-day Introductory Buddhist Teachings at the request of Indian Buddhists at the Tsug-la Khang, the main temple.
Over 1,300 Indians from Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Goa, Delhi, Hyderabad, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh are attending the teachings in addition to thousands of foreigners and Tibetans.