NEW DELHI : Indian federal govt representatives will meet the Dalai Lama when he visits a sensitive border region held by India but claimed by China, officials said, despite a warning from Beijing that it would damage ties.

India says the Tibetan spiritual leader will make a religious trip to Arunachal Pradesh next month, and as a secular democracy it would not stop him from travelling to any part of the country.

China claims the state in the eastern Himalayas as "South Tibet", and has denounced foreign and even Indian leaders' visits to the region as attempts to bolster New Delhi's territorial claims. A trip by the Dalai Lama, whom the Chinese regard as a dangerous separatist, would ratchet up tensions at a time when New Delhi is at odds with China on strategic and security issues and unnerved by Beijing's growing ties with Pakistan. PM Modi's administration is raising its public engagement with the Tibetan leader, a change from earlier governments' reluctance to anger Beijing by sharing a public platform with him.

"It's a behavioural change you are seeing. India is more assertive," junior home minister Kiren Rijiju told Reuters in an interview.