A two-day international conference on ‘Shared Buddhist Heritage’ aiming to discuss India’s civilizational connection with Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) nations began in New Delhi on Tuesday. The conference, attended by delegates of SCO nations, will explore the common heritage that connects these nations.
Speaking to the media persons, Union Minister G K Reddy said he was hopeful of the world receiving Lord Buddha’s message. He also said that India would propose conducting such SCO meetings in other countries as well.
“India is conducting G20 and SCO meetings, I am hopeful that soon the entire world will receive Lord Buddha’s message. This is the first time SCO country delegates are meeting in India. The Indian government will also propose conducting such SCO meetings in other countries,” Reddy said.
Meenakshi Lekhi, minister of state for external affairs, highlighted the importance of the Buddhist heritage sites in India and their significance in the Eurasian trade routes. She said that these paths could be called common heritage between the parts of the world and India. She also emphasized that India was the centre of this philosophy, ideology, art, and culture and that it was India’s responsibility to work on it.
“SCO is an international body consisting of eight nations. Whenever you cross places like Sarnath, Kushinagar or any other Indian place where there are footprints of Lord Buddha, you will find monasteries, temples, stupas & other heritage sites. These paths can be called as Eurasian trade routes…these are common heritage between the parts of the world & India. India is the centre of this philosophy, ideology, art& culture thus it becomes India’s responsibility to work on it,” she said.
The Advisor to the Pakistan Tourism Coordination Board, A. Imran Shaukat, highlighted Pakistan’s increased awareness and recognition of heritage sites other than just Muslim heritage. He said that Pakistan had been promoting the Sikhs, providing security and hospitality, and now Pakistan was doing more for the Buddhist sites. He also said that in the last decade, heritage sites were being preserved in the country.
“Buddhist civilization, if we look at it, is the first binding glue that brings all these countries and cultures together. Pakistan in the last decade has increased awareness and recognition of our other heritage other than just Muslim heritage. Pakistan has been promoting the Sikhs, providing security and hospitality. Now Pakistan is doing more for the Buddhist sites…In the last 10-year heritage sites are also preserved,” he said.
The conference is expected to result in a better understanding of the shared heritage between India and the SCO nations and pave the way for more collaboration and cooperation in preserving and promoting these heritage sites.
The conference is being attended by delegates from SCO nations, which include China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and India. This is the first time that SCO country delegates are meeting in India, and the conference will focus on India’s shared Buddhist heritage with these nations.