- The Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh is the latest entrant in India’s list of international Airports. The airport is expected to provide seamless connectivity to people from South east and East Asian countries for Buddhist Pilgrimage Tourism.
- Kushinagar is the centre of the Buddhist circuit, which consists of pilgrimage sites at Lumbini, Sarnath, Gaya and others.
- The inauguration of Kushinagar International airport is set to be a landmark in the India-Sri Lanka relations
- On the occasion of Aiprort’s inauguration, Sri Lanka will present to India photographs of two mural paintings:
- One Mural Painting shows ArahatBhikkhu’ Mahinda, son of Emperor Ashoka delivering the message of the Buddha to King Devanampiyatissa of Sri Lanka.
- The other shows the arrival of ‘TheriBhikkhuni’ Sanghamitta, the daughter of the Emperor, in Sri Lanka, bearing a sapling of the ‘sacred Bodhi tree’ under which Siddhārtha Gautama is believed to have attained enlightenment.
- The Buddhist circuit reflects the use of soft power in India’s foreign policy.
- The emphasis on Buddhist diplomacy, will help counter increasing Chinese influence in Sri Lanka and improve people to people relations (especially in the context of the aftermath of Sri-lankan Civil War).
- Further, the Buddhist faith, due to its emphasis on peaceful co-existence and its wide pan-Asian presence, lends itself well to soft-power diplomacy.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT