Amid tension along LAC, Rijiju, world leaders greet Dalai Lama

Dharamsala (IANS) Amid the heightened tension in India and China's relations due to the border buildup along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju was the first member of the Modi government to greet the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama on his 85th birthday on Monday.

The spiritual leader was also greeted by many world leaders and other dignitaries. Former US President George W. Bush, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, BJP national General Secretary Ram Madhav and many others greeted him.

Describing the globe-trotting monk as a 'youthful', Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, while posting a photo of the spiritual leader with former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, highlighted the former fled to India 61 years ago from the Chinese annexation of Tibet.

Across the globe, the Nobel Peace Laureate, who is revered by the Tibetans as a 'living god' and idolised in the Orient and the West, got greetings ranging from acclaimed US Cellist Michael Fitzpatrick to former US President George Bush Jr to his die-hand well-wisher and US Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.

The Dalai Lama's private office in this north Indian hill station told IANS that to mark the 85th birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama, world leaders, prominent figures and supporters of His Holiness' universal message of peace from around the world have sent birthday greetings to him.

"I offer my deepest reverence, prayers, and wishes for his long and healthy life. His values and ideals are the guiding light towards love, peace and compassion for entire humanity," Rijiju tweeted by tagging his photo with the spiritual leader.

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Joining him, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu offered prayers for the long "life of apostle of peace, ocean of compassion" and Nobel laureate the 14th #DalaiLama on his 85th birthday at Thupten Gatselling Gompa in Itanagar.

"May His Holiness live thousand years & may we continuously receive his love and blessings," he tweeted.

BJP national General Secretary Ram Madhav said, "I am deeply honoured to extend my respectful greetings for long life and good health to His Holiness the Dalai Lama on his 85th birthday."

Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Jairam Ramesh posted a message on Twitter by saying, "The Dalai Lama is a youthful 85 today."

"We wish that he continues to inspire the world for many more years. He fled to India 61 years ago and on April 24 1959, Nehru spent four hours with him in Mussoorie," he said by tagging the record of their conversation.

India has hosted the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile for 61 years.

Acclaimed US Cellist Michael Fitzpatrick wished His Holiness a warm 'happy birthday' and offered an instrumental version of the universal birthday tune.

Former US President, George Bush Jr shared an effusive, personal message, "Laura (Former first lady) and I send our very best wishes on your 85th birthday. I admire you, I care for you and I love you."

US Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, greeted in a universal spirit, expressing her support to the Tibetan cause. "May His Holiness' birthday brings happiness, joy and a year filled with peace and security for all Tibetans and for the world. Happy birthday, Your Holiness."

Indian Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, playfully and warmly greeted, "We want to see you active for at least a 100 years, make your century."

US Congressman, Jim McGovern joined in wishing, "Thank you and happy birthday."

Spiritual head of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Swami Chidanand Saraswati hailed, "His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the saint of the century."

Australian Senator, Kimberly Kitching shared a simple yet heartfelt, "Happy birthday and best wishes to His Holiness."

Leader of the Liberal Party, Norway, Trine Skei Grande, chimed in, "I wish you a great birthday."

From the 1989 Nobel Committee, Norway, Bishop Gunnar Stalsett, gave his warm wishes, "Greetings from Oslo, Norway and blessings on your 85th birthday."

Former National Security Advisor, India, Shivshankar Menon expressed his sincere hopes, "May his teachings, his influence, his practice continue to spread and grow in the years that are to come."

MP and co-Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group, UK, Tim Loughton acknowledged his appreciation for His Holiness, "May he continue for long ahead, a voice of reason, moderation, of peace and of good sense."

Australian MP, Kevin Andrews added, "My warmest greetings on the occasion of His 85th birthday."

A cheery birthday greeting in unison from Taiwanese Tibet Support Group to the Dalai Lama.

Chinese Civil Rights Activist, Chen Guangcheng gave his warm birthday wishes in Chinese.

Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, South Africa, expressed sincerely, "Good wishes and prayers that your cause may be realised in your lifetime."

US Congressman, Andy Levin warmly wished, "Happy birthday to his Holiness the Dalai Lama."

Revered globally as a 'living god', Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who transcends all barriers of religion, language and even distances, in a video message asked his followers that it was not possible for a large number of people to hold a big celebration because of restrictions due to the pandemic.

"And it is not necessary either. However, if you want to celebrate my birthday, I would like to ask you to recite the Mani mantra (Om Mani Padme Hung), at least a thousand times."

The Dalai Lama, who believes in the "middle-path" policy that demands "greater autonomy" for the people in Tibet, is viewed by the Chinese as a hostile element, who is bent on splitting Tibet from China.

The globetrotting monk lives in exile along with some 140,000 Tibetans, over 100,000 of them in India. Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.

The Tibetan exile administration, known as the Central Tibetan Administration and headed by democratically elected Lobsang Sangay, is based in this northern Indian hill town.

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