Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama has canceled his planned trip to Botswana next week due to exhaustion.
The cancellation follows agitation by China which has warned Botswana against hosting the 82-year-old exiled leader.
A statement issued on Friday expressed the Dalai Lama’s apology for the cancellation of the trip to rest per his doctor’s advise.
“His Holiness acknowledges that his 82-year-old body must rest. His doctors have advised him to avoid long journeys in the coming weeks,” the statement said adding that he will return to India to recover.
The Dalai Lama was scheduled to be in Botswana’s capital Gaborone to attend a human rights conference on August 17 to 19 and then meet President Ian Khama.
The announcement of his visit by the Botswana presidency was followed by a warning from China which said it will “certainly not tolerate another country doing anything that harms China’s core interests.”
The Dalai Lama, who fled from Tibet into exile in India in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese rule, has long been at loggerheads with China, which sent its troops into Tibet in 1950.
He transferred his political authority in 2011 to the democratically elected leader putting an end to the 368-year old tradition of the Dalai Lamas functioning as both the spiritual and temporal head of Tibet.
His sour relationship with the Chinese government comes from his quest to liberate Tibet from Chinese rule.
China has strong ties with African countries including Botswana.
Neighboring South Africa has denied visa to the Buddhist monk three times since 2009.
He has travelled to more than 67 countries spanning 6 continents and has received over 150 awards, honorary doctorates and prizes in recognition of his message of peace and non-violence.
The Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet.