LUMBINI: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has announced the development of a Buddhist circuit to enhance mutual cooperation in the field of culture and tourism by further strengthening the historical ties between Nepal and India.
Speaking at a function held to mark the 2566th Buddha Jayanti here today with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the Chief Guest, Prime Minister Deuba said that Nepal and India were committed to developing a Buddhist circuit connecting important places related to the life of Lord Gautam Buddha.
Prime Minister Deuba said that such a circuit to connect Lumbini of Nepal with Bodhgaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar of India would make a positive contribution in the field of promotion of cultural tourism between Nepal and India. “Buddhists from all over the world will be motivated to visit important places connected with the life of Lord Gautam Buddha in Nepal and India,” said Deuba.
He also said that Nepal was eager to welcome a large number of tourists and pilgrims from India and all over the world to Lumbini, after the inauguration of the recently completed Gautam Buddha International Airport.
He said the goal is to develop Lumbini as an important heritage of the world and as a centre of motivation for world peace. “It is our commitment to developing Lumbini as a world centre of Buddhism and philosophy. We appreciate the cooperation and solidarity of all to achieve this sacred goal,” PM Deuba said.
Prime Minister Deuba said the teachings of Lord Buddha are more relevant and meaningful in view of the fact that human beings are facing violence, hostility and war in different parts of the world today, and the journey towards world peace is becoming more difficult and challenging day by day due to terrorism, arms race and conflict.
Stating that Nepal and India are linked by cultural and spiritual values, he recalled his recent visit to Varanasi and expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Modi and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath for arranging the worship of Kashi Vishwanath Baba.
Appreciating the generous and cordial assistance extended by the Government of India in extremely difficult times as well as in normal times, Prime Minister Deuba thanked India for its continued support to Nepal’s economic development endeavours.
The event was attended by a large number of Buddhists and the general public, including Prime Minister’s spouse Arzu Rana Deuba, members of the Council of Ministers, the Chief Minister of Lumbini Province, Vice President and officials of the Lumbini Development Trust.
Relations between India and Nepal steadfast as mountains: PM Modi
Addressing the same ceremony, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that India and Nepal’s relationship was as firm as the mountains and observed that both countries had ample opportunities to work hand-in-hand for the development of science, technology and infrastructure.
Stating that the common traditions, cultures and social structures between the two countries have brought people from India and Nepal together, PM Modi reaffirmed to further strengthen relations with Nepal.
The hall was filled with applause from the audience in admiration of the visiting Indian PM Modi, who occasionally mentioned portion of Lord Buddha’s sermons in his speech and spoke in Nepali language in between.
He opined India and Nepal were connected by the noble thread of Buddhism and both countries were diversifying and deepening cooperation in many spheres including the development and promotion of the Buddhist Circuit.
Under the Buddhist Circuit project, UNESCO enlisted Buddhist sites in India such as Gaya, Nalanda, Baishali, Purbi Champaran, Bhagalpur and Nepal’s historical Buddhist sites such as Boudhanath, Swyambhunath, Kapan Monastery, Pokhara and Lumbini will be linked with each other.
PM Modi, during his remarks, expressed his eagerness to develop Buddhist Circuit envisaged expanding the international relations among the Buddhist communities and contributing to world peace.
Describing the incomparable friendship between India and Nepal in the world, the Indian Premier admitted that he had a different spiritual experience when he visited Nepal and shrines such as Pashupatinath, Muktinath, Janakpur and Lumbini.
Praising Nepal, the holy birthplace of Lord Buddha, and the land of Sagarmatha (Mt Everest) and a country with temples and several shrines, he said the country continues to remain a sacred place.
On the occasion, he announced the construction of Integrated Check Post at Bhairahawa to support Nepal’s economic and trade development and to implement the Buddhist Circuit as a joint project of both countries.