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India’s Buddhism card in China’s neighbourhood

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Khaltmaagiin Battulga, President of Mongolia, jointly unveiled through remote a statue of Lord Buddha and his two disciples.

, ET Bureau|
Sep 20, 2019, 06.44 PM IST
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AFP
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Gandan Tegchenling Monastery is a prominent centre of Mongolian Buddhists and a treasure house of valuable Buddhist heritage.
NEW DELHI: India on Friday reinforced its role as flag bearer of Buddhism in Asia on the occasion of visit of Mongolian leader amid China’s efforts to push its narrative on Buddhism in the region.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Khaltmaagiin Battulga, President of Mongolia, jointly unveiled through remote a statue of Lord Buddha and his two disciples, installed at the historic Gandan Tegchenling Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, capital of Mongolia (a Buddhist majority country).

Modi had offered prayers at the Gandan Tegchenling Monastery during his visit to Mongolia in 2015 and had announced to gift a statue of Lord Buddha to the monastery, underlining the common Buddhist heritage and civilizational links between our two countries and peoples.

The Statue depicts Lord Buddha in a sitting posture along with his two disciples conveying the message of compassion along with peace and co-existence. The statue was installed and consecrated at the Gandan Monastery earlier this month during the third edition of SAMVAAD dialogue held in Ulaanbaatar from 6 – 7 September 2019. Third edition of SAMVAAD dialogue brought together Buddhist religious leaders, experts and scholars from different countries to deliberate on contemporary issues related to Buddhism.

Gandan Tegchenling Monastery is a prominent centre of Mongolian Buddhists and a treasure house of valuable Buddhist heritage. It hosted the 11th General Assembly of Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace (ABCP) from 21-23 June 2019 marking the 50th anniversary of the Conference. Over 150 guests from 14 countries including India, South Korea, Russia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, North Korea, LPDR, Thailand, Japan etc. had participated in the event.

“The Statue unveiled today by Prime Minister and Battulga symbolizes the shared respect of our two countries for the universal message of Lord Buddha,” according to a MEA statement released on the occasion.

Earlier in Vladivostok on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum Modi and Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga, discussed how India can help mitigate the impact of smog in Ulaanbaatar.

Battulga is visiting Delhi, Bodh Gaya and Bengaluru. India is helping the landlocked country build an oil refinery through a line of credit announced during Modi's visit to the country. In 2015, PM Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the country.

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