Not to annoy China, Sri Lanka [ Images ] had asked its cricket players not to meet Tibet's [ Images ] exiled spiritual leader Dalai Lama [ Images ] during their visit to India to play in the Indian Premier League [ Images ], a top official said on Tuesday.
"We had been given instructions by the (Sri Lankan) government to tell the Sri Lankan players to avoid meeting the Dalai Lama (in India)," the cricket official said in Colombo.
Many of the Sri Lankan players were members of the various IPL teams.
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara [ Images ] and former skipper Mahela Jayawardene [ Images ] were asked not to join their IPL team mates of Kings XI Punjab [ Images ], who paid a courtesy call on Dalai Lama last month in Dharamsala, the official said.
Dharamsala is the seat of the Tibetan government in exile. Sangakkara was the captain of the Kings XI Punjab in the recently-concluded IPL tournament.
Sri Lanka, a Buddhist nation maintains close ties with Beijing [ Images ] which has been supporting the Colombo in its development programmes. China is also a major aid provider to Sri Lanka.
China is opposed to countries which allow visits by the Dalai Lama. It sees him as a separatist working for the Tibetan independence. The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959.