Dec 2, 2016
NEW DELHI: The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Urgyen Trinley Dorje, is presently visitingArunachal Pradesh. The visit has been enabled by a recent decision by the Cabinet Committee on Security, to lift restrictions on the Karmapa's travel within India. The visit may be expected to rile China, which not only claims Arunachal as its own territory but also saw the Karmapa flee from its custody 17 years ago.
China claims Arunachal Pradesh as an extension of its claim over Tibet, characterising Arunachal as 'southern Tibet'. Urgyen Trinley Dorje had dramatically fled to India in 1999 to escape Chinese government restrictions on his religious studies.
However, despite the discomfort over the optics of the Karmapa's visit to Arunachal Pradesh under the watch of the Indian government, China is unlikely to react to the visit, as it is likely to find itself isolated over the issue.
His visit to Arunachal was made possible by a recent decision by the Cabinet Committee on Security, that lifted restrictions on the religious head's travel within India.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju met the Karmapa in Arunachal and tweeted,
Massive reception to His Holiness The 17th Karmapa Urgyen Trinley Dorje who is on a visit to Arunachal Pradesh to spread love & compassion. pic.twitter.com/02j7fcYP1h— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) 2016年12月1日
After 900 years, HH The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa could again visit Mon region in Arunachal Pradesh. The last visit was by The 3rd Karmapa. https://t.co/uHs3XbHjkz— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) 2016年12月1日
Urgyen Trinley's visit to Arunachal Pradesh began on Monday, when he was received at the airport by Chief Minister Pema Khandu. On Friday, he visited the war memorial for Indian soldiers at Nyukmadung and paid tribute.
Buddhist leader Karmapa Lama pays tribute to Indian soldiers war memorial at Nyukmadung, near Dirang in Arunachal Pradesh. pic.twitter.com/RisHx04Hge— ANI (@ANI_news) 2016年12月2日
The last visit to Arunachal Pradesh by a Karmapa was about 900 years ago, by the 3rd Karmapa, Rangjung Dorje, who died in 1339.
The Karmapa's travel within India has been restricted, especially since a 2011 raid by Himachal Pradesh Police on a trust backed by Urgyen Trinley found cash amounting to about Rs 6 crore, in the currencies of 25 countries including China. He had at the time been suspected of being a Chinese government agent, following which the Centre increased restrictions on his travel.
Religiously and culturally, Urgyen Trinley's visit is significant as he is one of the two major claimants to the seat of the Karmapa, the head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. A majority of the Karma Kagyu monasteries and leaders have already accepted him as the Karmapa. However, a significant minority recognisesTrinley Thaye Dorje instead.
The Chinese government broke with its track record of denying reincarnation when it backed Urgyen Trinley's claim to the seat of the Karmapa. It however placed extremely tight restrictions on his activities and studies, prompting him to flee to India at the age of 14.
India's extension of hospitality to Tibetan leaders, especially the Dalai Lama and Karmapa has come up as a repeated irritant in relations between New Delhi and Beijing.