Du Youkang, director of Fudan University's Pakistan Study Centre, said the main goal of the meeting was to ensure a stable future partnership between China and India, particularly amid the uncertainty of trade and diplomatic ties with Washington.
Will India turn its back on the Dalai Lama to appease China?
Tshering Chonzom Bhutia, Associate Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi, says India seems to be re-evaluating its China policy after the Doklam stand-off, especially after reports in January of a fresh Chinese build-up in the Himalayan area raised fears that an August peace deal may be unraveling, paving the way for an even bigger confrontation.
According to Bhutia, an interfaith prayer led by the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader to be held on March 31 and a "Thank you, India" organized by the Central Tibetan Administration, or government-in-exile, on April 1, were cancelled by the Indian government.
Both the events were significant because they were to mark 60 years of Tibetans in exile, according to Butia. The Dalai Lama first stepped foot on Indian soil on March 31, 1959.
The events were cancelled after newly appointed Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale sent a note to PK Singh, the cabinet secretary, ordering senior government officials to stay clear of the events.
The note said the events were taking place at a "sensitive time in the context of India's relations with China". But Tibet has always been a sensitive topic for China, so why the sudden interest now? The answer may speak to just how tenuous relations between the two Asian giants have become.
Gokhale's note was sent out a day before he visited China on February 23. While in Beijing, Gokhale spoke of how "India attached great importance to bilateral ties" and was willing to "work to take care of each other's core concerns." Both Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and State Councilor Yang Jiechi called upon Gokhale to "handle sensitive issues prudently" and "properly settle sensitive issues".