Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh): Tibetan Spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Saturday said it was up to his people to decide whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not.
A monastery official said the 14th Dalai Lama would hold discussions with senior Lamas the issue of reincarnation during his stay at Tawang.
"I have left it to the people to decide whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not. It depends entirely on the wishes the Tibetan people," the Tibetan leader told journalists at Tawang, the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso.
The Dalai Lama arrived at the Tawang monastery on Friday evening and began his religious discourses on Saturday.
He is staying at the Tawang monastery, which belongs to the Gelugpa school of Mahayana Buddhism and has had a religious connection with Lhasa's Drepung monastery that continued during the British rule.
Beijing refers to this connection to claim Tawang as part of China after invading and taking over Tibet in 1950.
There is speculation that the 15th Dalai Lama could be again from Tawang even as China has named a six-year-old boy in Tibet as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, widely considered the second-holiest monk in Tibetan Buddhism.
Asked if the next Dalai Lama could be a woman, the Dalai Lama said: "That might also happen.
"Let China first come clear on its theory on rebirth (next Dalai Lama)," the 81-year-old said.
"I retired from politics in 2011 and all political matters are handled by our government-in-exile. But I am committed to promote and preserve Tibetan culture and ecology."
China on Wednesday lodged a protest with India over the Dalai Lama's visit to Arunachal Pradesh. Indian Ambassador Vijay Gokhale was summoned in Beijing.
The Sino-Indian border along Arunachal Pradesh is separated by the McMahon Line, an imaginary border now known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
India and China fought a border war in 1962, with Chinese troops advancing deep into Arunachal Pradesh and inflicting heavy casualties on poorly armed Indian troops.
The border dispute with China was inherited by India from British rulers, who hosted a 1914 conference with the Tibetan and Chinese governments that set the border in what is now Arunachal Pradesh.
China has never recognised the 1914 McMahon Line and claims 90,000 sq km, including nearly all of Arunachal. India accuses China of occupying 8,000 sq km in Jammu and Kashmir.
After 1962, tensions flared again in 1986 with Indian and Chinese forces clashing in Sumdorong Chu valley of Arunachal Pradesh. Chinese troops reportedly built a helipad in the valley leading to the fresh skirmishes.
On US President Donald Trump's "America First Policy", the Nobel laureate said: "I disagree with the America First policy. It is unbecoming of a country that encourages free thinking."
Exhorting the European Union for pursuing policies directed at social cohesion, the Dalai Lama suggested that India, China and Pakistan could have similar economic and cultural cooperation for greater stability in the sub-continent.
"The exit of Britain (from European Union) was the people's choice, but EU is something Africa, the America and even Asia can follow. I admire Germany for sticking to EU despite a very strong Deutsche Mark," he said.
The Dalai Lama has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959. India is also home to some 100,000 Tibetans.