Nepal seeks expansion of Buddhist circuit to Pakistan and Sri Lanka
September 14, 2017 03:59 pm
Nepal has asked for expanding the proposed Buddhist circuit, stretching from Bodh Gaya in Bihar to Kapilavastu and Lumbini in Nepal, to Pakistan and Sri Lanka as well. The Nepalese Ambassador to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyay, said Lord Buddha and his message of peace can become a tool for Asian cohesion.
The proposed circuit, along with ‘Ramayan circuit’, are pet projects of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promote pilgrimage and tourism, and rediscover the historic links that India and Nepal share. The map of the Buddhist circuit as envisaged by India comprises Bodh Gaya, Vaishali, Rajgir and Kushinagar in Bihar, Sarnath and Shravasti in UP, along with Kapilavastu and Lumbini in Nepal where Buddha was born.
At the recent of the SAARC working group, representatives from Pakistan and Afghanistan expressed interest in promoting their Buddhist links, the ambassador said. Besides the famous Taxila ruins in Pakistan, Gandhara — the region around present-day Peshawar — encompassed Bamiyan in Afghanistan, Bactria, the Hindu Kush and the Punjab region in India have many Buddhist relics.
The ambassador said he was happy that the stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops at Doklam in the Himalayan region was resolved. “No country would benefit without peaceful resolution of conflicts,” he said. On being asked how challenging it was for the Himalayan nation to manage ties with its two neighbouring giants, the envoy said Nepal’s position was “neutral”, and “India occupies a special place in terms of people-to-people contact”.
On Nepal joining China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative which seeks to link Asia with Europe, Upadhyay said his country considers China “friendly” and is confident that no action of China will harm its citizens. India has not joined the initiative.