Amid India and China face-off, Union minister of state for youth affairs and sports Kiren Rijiju on Monday greeted the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama on his 85th birthday.

Rijiju was the first member of the Modi government to greet the spiritual leader.

“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.

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.

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

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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