India announces $15M grant for Sri Lanka to strengthening Buddhist ties

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Sep 26, 2020, 07.57 PM(IST) Reported By: Sidhant Sibal

India and Sri Lanka Photograph:( WION )

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The grant will be used for constructions and renovation of Buddhist cultural sites in the Indian ocean country, archaeological cooperation, the reciprocal study of Lord Buddha’s relics, strengthening of Buddhist scholarship, and supporting the clergy.

India on Saturday announced a $15 million grant to Sri Lanka, in a major push strengthen Buddhist cultural link between New Delhi and Colombo. The development is the key outcome of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan PM Mahinda Rajapakse's over-an-hour long virtual meet.

The joint secretary of Indian ocean region in the Ministry of External Affairs, Amit Narang, to this end said, "​Testifying to the long-standing civilisational links and cultural heritage, Prime Minister Modi announced grant assistance of US$15 million for the promotion of Buddhist ties between the two countries. The grant will assist in deepening people-to-people linkages between the two countries in the sphere of Buddhism."

The grant will be used for constructions and renovation of Buddhist cultural sites in the Indian ocean country, archaeological cooperation, the reciprocal study of Lord Buddha’s relics, strengthening of Buddhist scholarship, and supporting the clergy.

India will also facilitate the visit of a delegation of Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka in the first inaugural flight to Kushinagar. Recently, in a bid to promote Buddhist tourism, Kushinagar airport was designated as an international airport. Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh is the place where it is believed that Buddha attained Parinirvana or death after achieving Nirvana.

India is already engaged in a number of cultural projects in the country including the building of the Jaffna Cultural Centre. In fact, during the virtual summit, PM Mahinda extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to inaugurate the project.

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