The government on Thursday said it has no say in the Dalai Lama’s travel within the country, and no political meaning should be read into it. China had earlier taken strong objection to the Tibetan spiritual leader visiting Arunanchal Pradesh, over which it has territorial contestation with India. India considers Arunanchal Pradesh as an integral part of India.

“The Dalai Lama is a revered religious figure who is treated as such by the government and people of India,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Gopal Banglay said. He said the government has no “say” in Dalai Lama’s travel “within India and no political meaning should be attached to them as such”.

China said it was “gravely concerned over information that India granted permission to the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh,” its foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said last week.

He warned that an invitation to the spiritual leader to visit Arunachal Pradesh will cause serious damage to Sino-Indian ties.

“India is fully aware of the seriousness of the Dalai Lama issue and the sensitivity of the China-India border question. Under such a background, if India invites the Dalai Lama to visit the mentioned territory, it will cause serious damage to peace and stability of the border region and China-India relations,” he said.