Indian Foreign Secretary Said Headed To Tibetan Exile Capital

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao listens to a question during a joint press conference with her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad on June 24, 2010. Top Indian and Pakistani diplomats pledged on June 24 to strive

News outlets in India say Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao will visit officials of the Tibetan government in exile on Saturday in Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama.

Official sources in New Delhi did not confirm the visit, which has been repeatedly canceled in the past. But regional officials were quoted saying the visit would last for one or two days and deal with issues including the settlement of Tibetan exiles in India and their drive for autonomy in their homeland.

The Hindustan Times said an itinerary for the visit included direct talks with the exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and top officials of his administration.

Rao was also expected to discuss security for the spiritual leader, who celebrated his 75th birthday on Tuesday.

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile since fleeing Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. An estimated 140,000 Tibetans now live in exile, about 100,000 of them in India.

The Dalai Lama says he seeks only autonomy for his homeland, but China considers him a dangerous separatist and objects to his meeting with senior officials of foreign governments.