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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 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.
The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He has since lived in the north Indian hill town of Dharamsala.
The announcement of the Dalai Lama's trip comes days before the prime ministers of India and China are to meet in Thailand to defuse mounting rhetoric over their border dispute, which has led to fears the rivalry could spin out of control.
India and China fought a short border war in 1962 and, despite burgeoning trade in recent years, mistrust remains.
(Reporting by Abhishek Madhukar; Writing by Krittivas Mukherjee; Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Bill Tarrant)

Reuters