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By Abhishek Madhukar
DHARAMSALA, India (Reuters) - The Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled leader, will make a week-long visit to an Indian state bordering China, his aide said on Thursday, a trip that is bound to upset Beijing, which claims part of the territory as its own.
The Dalai Lama is expected to give spiritual lessons beginning on November 8 to his followers in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh state, which is at the centre of a border dispute between two countries who have been trying to reduce tensions recently.
"His Holiness will be flying directly from Guwahati to Tawang on the 8th (Nov)," Tenzin Taklha told Reuters. Guwahati is a major city in India's northeast.
The intended visit has already sparked consternation in China, which claims about 90,000 sq km (35,000 square miles) of Arunachal Pradesh along the border as part of its territory.
With India and China engaged in a race for regional supremacy, Beijing could see the Dalai Lama's trip as encouraging the Tibetan struggle by undermining Chinese territorial integrity.
About 500 Tibetans, mostly monks and nuns, marched with candles through Dharamsala, where the Tibetan government-in-exile is based, to denounce what they said were executions of four Tibetans in Lhasa for anti-Chinese protests last year.
"There was an inconspicuous deployment of Public Security Bureau and armed personnel around Lhasa on the day of the execution (October 20)," the government in-exile said in a statement.
"The Chinese authorities had also stepped up patrols... and heads of some families were also taken into custody."
Repeated calls to get a confirmation of the executions from government offices in the Tibetan capital Lhasa went unanswered.
The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He has since lived in Dharamsala, a hill town in northern Indian.
The Dalai Lama's trip was announced days before the prime ministers of India and China are to meet in Thailand to defuse mounting rhetoric over their border dispute.
India and China fought a short border war in 1962 and, despite burgeoning trade in recent years, mistrust remains.
(Writing by Krittivas Mukherjee; Editing by Bappa Majumdar and Ron Popeski)

Reuters