Dalai Lama leaves hospital

The Dalai Lama left hospital in Mumbai this morning after being treated for abdominal pain, smiling and waving to waiting photographers.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader put his hands together in a traditional greeting before getting into a white Ambassador car and being driven away to a hotel, accompanied by police vehicles.

"He is feeling good and he will be resting for the next few days," his aide Chhime Chhoekyapa told Reuters, adding that the Dalai Lama would stay in Mumbai for a while.

The Dalai Lama was admitted to hospital last week after complaining of "fatigue" and cancelling two foreign trips.

After he was admitted, doctors said the 73-year-old had abdominal discomfort but there was no cause for concern.

In recent years, doctors have carried out more frequent medical checks to ensure that the Dalai Lama was in good health, but the spiritual leader said last November the examinations showed he was "good for another few decades".

He took part in a fast for peace on Saturday from his hospital bed, aides said, along with thousands of Tibetans in other parts of India.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner had recently returned from an 11-day visit to France. The visit focused on lectures on Buddhism, but he also criticised Chinese policies in Tibet.

Many Tibetans fear the death of the current Dalai Lama would be a major setback in their fight for more autonomy within China or independence, creating a leadership vacuum that Beijing is expected to exploit.

In a bid to circumvent this, the Dalai Lama has long suggested his reincarnation would be found outside China.

He has also suggested Tibetans should start to consider how they wanted to address the succession issue, perhaps by electing a senior lama to succeed him or doing away with the institution altogether.

China maintains that the next Dalai Lama will be born in Tibet and chosen by them.

The Dalai Lama, who was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, has been living in exile since 1959 after a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.