US delegation in Dharamshala, India, meets the Dalai Lama

A high-level US congressional delegation, led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, arrived in Dharamshala, India, on Tuesday to meet with the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The delegation includes former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is part of the bipartisan group visiting India to strengthen bilateral ties and engage with the Dalai Lama.

The delegation’s visit comes amid growing tensions between the United States and China over the Tibet-China dispute. The US House of Representatives recently passed the Promoting and Resolution to the Tibet-China Dispute Act, which aims to counter China’s narrative about its control over Tibet and promote dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama. The bill is now awaiting President Joe Biden’s signature to become law.

China has expressed concern over the US delegation’s visit, urging Biden not to sign the bill and warning of “resolute measures” if the US does not adhere to its commitments on Tibet. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian described the Dalai Lama as a “political exile engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the cloak of religion” and urged the US to recognize Tibet as part of China and not support “Tibet independence.”

The Dalai Lama, who has been living in exile in India since 1959, has long advocated for autonomy for Tibet rather than independence. The Tibetan government-in-exile is based in Dharamshala, which has been the seat of Tibetan politics since the Dalai Lama fled Tibet.

The US delegation’s visit is seen as a significant gesture of support for the Tibetan people and their struggle for autonomy. The meeting with the Dalai Lama is expected to focus on the Tibet-China dispute and ways to promote dialogue and understanding between the two sides. The visit is also expected to strengthen ties between the United States and India, both of which share concerns about China’s growing influence in the region.

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