China and India already rivals on many fronts are now pitted in fresh hostility after President Pranab Mukherjee hosted Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama at the Rashtrapathi Bhawan.The Chinese hold Dalai Lama as engaged in separatist activities in the guise of religious Buddhist leader.
Chinese government protested Dalai Lama’s presence in India and threatened it might effect bilateral ties.Earlier Beijing had also objected to the visit of Tibetan leader ,the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje to Arunachal Pradesh.
The 13th Dalai Lama declared Tibetan independence from China in 1912.Dalai Lama seeks autonomy for his Himalayan homeland Tibet which Communist Chinese troops liberated in 1950 during the selection process for the 14th Dalai Lama.He fled to India from where he maintains his position of authority and the Tibetan government in exile.
India-China ties are already strained on various issues in the South China Sea .Recently, India signed a joint declaration on maritime cooperation with Indonesia.Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesia President
Joko Widodo decided to boost ties in maritime security sphere with a focus on cooperating with each other to ensure the safety and security of the sea lanes.
New Delhi had entered into agreements with Vietnam for oil and gas exploration projects in the disputed South China Sea .China and Vietnam are among ten countries that hold competing claims over the South China Sea.
India along with US also uphold freedom of navigation and maritime cooperation in the South China Sea.
China claims that they enjoy undisputed sovereignty over the South China Sea and its islands but US considers it as international waters with freedom of navigation for all.
Another flashpoint that may trigger tensions between China and United States as Chinese Navy warship has seized an underwater US drone deployed in international waters in the South China Sea .The United States has thus issued the formal demarche and China is yet to respond.