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Despite China affirming that the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh did "serious damage" to Indo-China bilateral ties, the spiritual leader addressed devotees in Tawang April 8.

Buddhist monks and scores of devotees at the Tawang monastery, the biggest in India and second only to the world's largest, the Potala Palace in Tibet, received him warmly and with piety.

While forgiving China for its "atrocities against the Tibetans", the Dalai Lama wondered as to why the Chinese government continued to call him a separatist despite his adopting a middle path.

Speaking on the reincarnation of the Dalai Lamas, the spiritual leader said, 'from this year, he'll start holding meetings with high Lamas to discuss reincarnation issue'. "They [his followers] will decide whether the tradition will continue or not", he said, according to AP. A victor of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Dalai Lama has refrained from violence when dealing with China, but has never minced his words. "Wherever I go, I tell people about the Indian philosophy of ahimsa (non-violence), karuna (compassion) and religious harmony", the Tibetan leader told the India Times.

The Dalai Lama had stayed in the Tawang monastery for some days before he reached Assam after fleeing his homeland in 1959. "In the past, Chinese emperors did have involvement in the reincarnation of some lamas but they were disciples of certain Tibetan lamas", he said.

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"Besides, the Dalai Lama deserves the Bharat Ratna as he has said that he is a son of India and feels honoured to be the longest serving guest of this great country", Chosang said. Streets were swept, houses freshly painted and welcome arches and banners erected across the main streets.

The visit to Arunachal Pradesh, which China also claims as its territory, has raised tensions between the nuclear-armed Asian neighbors.

On Wednesday, the state-run Chinese media alleged that India is using the Dalai Lama as a diplomatic leverage to challenge China's "bottom line". "China will take necessary measures to firmly safeguard its territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights". "So often I suggest to concerned Indian officials that ... they create some sort of arrangement for Chinese Buddhists to make a pilgrimage in India", he said. China considers Arunachal a disputed region and claims parts of the state are southern Tibet. Khandu said China had no business telling India what to do and what not to do, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

He reiterated statements that Tibetans are not seeking an independent nation, but rather that China provide them with "meaningful self-rule, autonomy and must take full care of the environment".

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