Washington, May 6 (PTI) Describing Buddhism as amongst India’s greatest gifts to the world, Indian ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu on Friday said New Delhi is keen to strengthen the bond people share through this religion.
He was speaking at an event on the occasion of Buddha Purnima.
“Buddhism is amongst the greatest gifts, from India to the world with more than 2,500 years of history. Today it is practised in more than 100 countries. It is a strong unifying factor. I have, in my previous assignments in Sri Lanka, witnessed how strong our shared Buddhist heritage is,” Sandhu said.
“Under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, Government of India, is keen to strengthen the people-to-people linkages, weaved through the common thread of Buddhism,” he said.
The event was attended by eminent Buddhist monks from the Greater Washington DC area.
Referring to Modi’s 2017 visit to Sri Lanka on International Vesak Day, he said several initiatives, like the development of the Buddha Circuit in India and Nepal, the rejuvenation of pilgrimage centres, like Sarnath and Kushinagar, the inauguration of the Kushinagar International Airport, the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in Lumbini and International Buddhist Confederation are a few examples of India’s efforts.
Sandhu also mentioned India’s assistance to its neighbouring countries and Southeast Asia for the construction and renovation of Buddhist monasteries and joint projects to set up international centres and museums for Buddhist culture and heritage as some other examples.
The first Global Buddhist Summit was organised by India last month, where scholars from across the world participated, he added.
“Today, the world is facing multiple challenges in the form of pandemics, terrorism, and environmental degradation. And yet, there is no problem for which solutions could not be found in the teachings of the Buddha, who said, ‘be your own light’ and showed us the path which he himself lived,” he said.
Sandhu said India has been deeply influenced by Buddhist philosophy and working with like-minded partners, including the United States, in addressing the diverse headwinds that we face.
“This is manifested in many ways – as one of the first responders, during disasters, or as an exporter of vaccines, to more than 100 countries, to fight Covid-19 pandemic, or by driving sustainability through Mission LiFE, promotion of Millets and Yoga, or the unifying spirit, in the theme of India’s G20 Presidency, Vasu-dhaiva-kutum-bakam – One Earth, One Family, One Future!” Sandhu said. PTI LKJ RDT AMS AMS
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