His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Narendra Modi. Photo: File

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Dharamshala, India — His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was among the leaders across the world, including U.S. President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who wished Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India.

As Modi turns 70, the spiritual leader of Tibet greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 70th birthday, expressed his deep appreciation of the appropriate measures the Indian Prime Minister has taken to meet the enormous challenges that this crisis has brought about.

"Today, on the occasion of his 70th birthday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishing him many happy returns of the day and praying for his continued good health," according to the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

“This has been an exceptionally tough year,” he wrote, “for peoples and nations across the world due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus. It is my earnest hope that the international community working together will be able to contain its spread before long and that suitable vaccines will be developed soon."

"In India, the Central and state authorities are doing whatever they can to alleviate difficulties the public face. I would like to convey my deep appreciation of the appropriate measures you have taken to meet the enormous challenges that this crisis has brought about," the letter added.

“In addition to threats to their health — mental as well as physical — people all over the world are confronted by a loss of livelihood, while the education of their children has been interrupted. These circumstances have brought about anxiety and a deep sense of unease, especially among many ordinary people.

“People frequently ask me how to cope with the array of challenges before them. I suggest looking at each problem from different angles in a realistic way. I keep in mind the advice of the 8th-century Indian scholar Shantideva, who recommended examining whether the problem we face could be solved. If there is a solution, what we must do is work to put it into effect; if there is not, continuing to worry about it is a waste of time.

“I am convinced that in uncertain times like these, the age-old Indian practice of non-violent conduct— ‘ahimsa’, backed by a compassionate motivation — ‘karuna’, expressed as a warm-hearted concern for others, is not only relevant but also necessary if we are to move forward in a calm and collected way.”

His Holiness ended his letter with the observation that Tibetans have long regarded India as the Arya Bhumi, adding, “For the last 61 years, it has also been home to us, the Tibetan community in exile. May I once more take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude to the government and people of India for the warm and considerate hospitality we have received.”

Using the social media platform Twitter, Prime Minister Modi responded to many of those world leaders who wished him. “People from all over India, from all over the world have shared their kind wishes. I am grateful to each and every person who has greeted me. These greetings give me the strength to serve and work towards improving the lives of my fellow citizens,” Modi Tweeted.

Modi also urged people to take precautions to defeat the coronavirus. “Since many have asked, what is it that I want for my birthday, here is what I seek right now: Keep wearing a mask and wear it properly. Follow social distancing. Remember ‘Do Gaj Ki Doori.’ Avoid crowded spaces. Improve your immunity. Let us make our planet healthy,” he further added.

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