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‘India revitalising Buddhist heritage through ties with Mongolia’

 Ulaanbaatar, April 25: Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said that India is reviving its Buddhist heritage through its ties with Mongolia and that the two countries are more spiritual partners than strategic. “Buddhism has been a great connector of civilisations since millennia,” Sushma Swaraj said while addressing the birth centenary celebrations of Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, a highly revered Buddhist leader and monk from Ladakh and a former Ambassador of India to Mongolia. Bakula Rinpoche, as the longest serving Indian Ambassador to Mongolia, made seminal contribution to promotion of India-Mongolia ties. “Even though Buddhism originated in India, it spread across the mighty Himalayas to East Asia and across the seas in southeast Asia,” Sushma Swaraj said. “Eventually, it also made its way to the vast steppes of Mongolia where it has found a permanent abode for over two millennia.” 

Stating that her country is once again reviving the Buddhist connections to bring together all those who have adopted faith in Buddha’s philosophy and teachings, the Indian External Affairs Minister said that one of the efforts in this direction has been to link the Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India for fellow pilgrims from the neighbourhood and beyond, including from Mongolia. “In our own small way, we are trying to work with our Mongolian friends to protect and preserve our Buddhist heritage.” 
Stating that India has also offered to provide a statue of Lord Buddha to the Gandan Monastery in Mongolia as a token of the deep friendship between the two countries, Sushma Swaraj said India is also keen to invite Buddhist scholars and students “to visit India to discover our precious heritage”. She said that Mongolian scholars and students can not only visit the Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India but also undertake higher studies in some of the prominent institutions engaged in study of Buddhist philosophy. (IANS)