China on Monday slammed the Indian government's invitation of the Dalai Lama to a Buddhist conference, with Chinese experts warning India against using him as a bargaining chip to solve disputes.
The Chinese foreign ministry expressed strong opposition to the Dalai Lama's participation in a Buddhism conference last week in India.
"We urge the Indian side to clearly recognize the anti-China separatist nature of the Dalai clique, abide by its promises on the Tibet question, respect China's core interests and avoid further disturbances and harm to China-India relations," Hua Chunying, spokesperson for Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a daily briefing on Monday.
"Recently, India ignored China's solemn representations and strong opposition and insisted on inviting the 14th Dalai Lama to attend an international Buddhist conference organized by the Indian government," Hua said.
The Dalai Lama also shared the stage with Indian government officials and gave a speech, she told a daily briefing.
The Dalai Lama and Indian Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma inaugurated the conference on Friday, the Indian culture ministry said in a statement.
The invitation to the Dalai Lama, a separatist figure, demonstrates that India is trying to secure concessions over South Tibet through such provocation, Wang Dehua, director of the Institute for Southern and Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Municipal Center for International Studies, told the Global Times.
"But in doing so, India is asking for trouble, worsening the bilateral relations and impeding normal bilateral discussion," he said.
India deliberately used the Dalai Lama, who is not only a religious figure but also a political one, as a "legal excuse" to claim the disputed region, Hu Shisheng, the director of the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceania Studies, told the Global Times.
India has been bolder to follow the US, considering that its rhetoric on the Tibet question is increasingly intensifying when many Western countries are playing it down, Hu said.
The Chinese foreign ministry had also expressed its concern on March 3 over an upcoming visit of the Dalai Lama to a disputed zone in the eastern part of the China-India border area in April, where he is expected to meet with the Indian government officials.
India's aggressive gesture of inviting the Dalai Lama will bring no benefit to India, but tarnish India's image among Chinese people, Hu said.
The Dalai clique has long been engaged in anti-China separatist activities and has been involved in dishonorable acts in the past on the boundary question, Geng Shuang, another spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, said on March 3.
In December 2016, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee hosted the Dalai Lama at his official residence with other Nobel prize winners, the exiled leader's first public meeting with an Indian head of state in 60 years, Reuters reported.