India and Sri Lanka share responsibility for upholding Buddhist heritage, says Indian foreign minister


Colombo, October 3 ( Indian Foreign Minister Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Sunday began his visit to Sri Lanka by seeking blessings at Sri Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. He was warmly received by the Diyawadana Nilame of the temple.

In an email interview in Sri Lanka Sunday opening hours, the Indian Foreign Minister said: “India is fortunate to be the land from which the priceless gift of the Buddha’s teachings has spread to the rest of the world. Today, the Buddhist heritage forms an important civilizational link between India and many countries. Sri Lanka occupies a very important and special place among them, being one of the first countries to receive the gift of Buddhism from India two millennia ago. Our common living heritage of Buddhism continues to inspire millions of people and has been kept alive through regular exchanges, exhibition of Buddha relics, Buddhist pilgrimages, conservation of Buddhist sites, and more. It is therefore our right, our responsibility and our duty to defend our shared Buddhist heritage not only in our own countries but all over the world.

Asked about the status of the Buddhism grant announced by the Indian government last year, Shringla said, “Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has announced a special grant of $ 15 million for the promotion of Buddhist ties between India and Sri Lanka. The grant will help to deepen the interpersonal ties between the two countries in the field of Buddhism, through infrastructure development projects; capacity building; cultural activities; archaeological cooperation; reciprocal display of the relics of Lord Buddha; promotion of Buddhist pilgrimage to India, etc. Currently, the two governments are discussing how to use the grant. We hope to sign the memorandum of understanding shortly.

In its statement on the visit, the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA) said that since Sri Lanka is central to India’s “neighborhood first” policy, the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs will be the opportunity to review bilateral relations, progress of ongoing bilateral projects and continued cooperation to deal with Covid-related disruptions.

Shringla will also meet with a delegation from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) led by its leader R. Sampanthan in Colombo and at the India-funded cultural center in Jaffna, in addition to scheduled meetings with the northern governor and party leaders. policies.

During his visit to Kandy and the hinterland, he will inaugurate the a 1 project of building 1250 houses for plantation families under India’s flagship Indian housing project in Sri Lanka to build 50 000 homes with a total allocation of US $ 270 million in grants.

As part of this project, 4,000 houses are being built in the plantation areas of the central, Uva, Sabragamuwa and southern provinces of Sri Lanka.