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    Powerful US Congressional Delegation to visit India to strengthen bilateral ties, meet Dalai Lama

    Date:

    Washington, Jun 15: A powerful bipartisan US congressional delegation, led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaulis, is visiting to strengthen bilateral ties and to meet the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

    The delegation includes former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Gregory W. Meeks, House Rules Committee Ranking Member Jim McGovern, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific Ranking Member Ami Bera, and Congressman Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Nicole Malliotakis.

    In India, the delegation will meet the 14th Dalai Lama, Indian government officials, and representatives of US businesses in the country.

    “India is the 's largest democracy and an important strategic partner of the United States,” said McCaul.

    “I look forward to meeting with government officials and the American community to learn how we can continue to strengthen our relationship with India,” he said.

    “I am also honoured to have the opportunity to meet with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. Tibetans are a democracy-loving people who wish to practice their religion freely. This visit should highlight the bipartisan support in the US Congress for Tibet to have a say in their own future,” McCaul said.

    Ranking Member Meeks said he was looking forward to joining Chairman McCaul and Pelosi to demonstrate the strong bipartisan support for the US-India relationship.

    “Over the past 25 years, our relationship with India has transformed to become one of the United States most consequential. I'm also honoured to have a chance to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to hear his views on how the American People can help advance the Tibetan people's struggle for autonomy,” he said.

    The US statement did not mention the dates of the visit.

    However, authoritative sources in New Delhi said on Friday that the delegation would be in Dharamsala on June 18 and 19.

    The visit of the influential US lawmakers to the Himalayan town is taking place ahead of the Dalai Lama's planned trip to the US for medical treatment.

    Tibet's government-in-exile is based in Dharamshala and it represents over one lakh Tibetans living in around 30 countries. The US has strongly been supporting the Tibetan cause and condemning all oppression and coercion of Tibetans by China.

    The US Congress this month passed a legislation calling for a peaceful resolution of the dispute over the status and governance of Tibet. The ‘Resolve Tibet Act' also calls on Beijing to resume dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

    American lawmakers have regularly been visiting Dharamsala in reflection of Washington's support of the Tibetan cause.

    From 2002 to 2010, the Dalai Lama's representatives and the Chinese government held nine rounds of dialogue that did not produce any concrete outcomes. No formal talks have been held since then.

    In its talks with China between 2002 and 2010, the Tibetan side pitched genuine autonomy for the Tibetan people in line with the Dalai Lama's middle-way policy. The Dalai Lama has been favouring resolution of the Tibetan issue through dialogue.

    In April, the Sikyong or political head of Tibet's government-in-exile, Penpa Tsering said his administration has opened back-channel talks with Beijing to explore ways to find a resolution to the Tibet issue.

    The remarks were seen as signs of willingness by both sides to re-engage over a decade after the formal dialogue process hit a dead end in view of anti-China protests in Tibet and Beijing's hardline approach towards the Buddhist region.

    Northlines
    Northlines
    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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