Indian HC calls on Ven. Kotugoda Dhammawansa Thera | Sunday Observer

Indian HC calls on Ven. Kotugoda Dhammawansa Thera

1 November, 2020

High Commissioner of India, Gopal Baglay called on Agga Maha Pandita Most Ven. Kotugoda Dhammawansa Thera, Mahanayaka of Amarapura Nikaya and sought his blessings for the prosperity of the people of India and Sri Lanka and strengthening the friendly relations between them.

The High Commissioner recalled his arrival in Sri Lanka in the Holy Week of Vesak and said that he felt particularly fortunate to be seeking the blessings of Ven. Dhammawansa Thera on Vap Poya Day.

The Mahanayake recalled his many trips to India and said that his blessings were always with the people of Sri Lanka and India for their peace and prosperity. He conveyed his wishes for enhanced people-to-people contact between the two countries and increased regional connectivity to help Buddhist pilgrims visit the various holy sites in the Indian subcontinent.

High Commissioner Baglay said that the Government of India had recently declared the Kushinagar Airport in India, the place of the Buddha’s Mahaparinibbana, as an international airport, to allow Buddhist pilgrims from around the world to visit the revered site with ease. He said that given the pre-eminence of India-Sri Lanka Buddhist ties, both countries had agreed that the inaugural flight to the airport should be from Sri Lanka.

The High Commissioner also discussed the implementation of the USD 15 million grant from India to promote Buddhist ties between India and Sri Lanka. The grant was announced by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during the virtual Bilateral Summit between India and Sri Lanka on September 26, 2020.

He said that this is a first of its kind grant by India and that it may be used for the construction or renovation of Buddhist monasteries, capacity development, cultural exchanges, archaeological cooperation, reciprocal exposition of The Buddha’s relics, and strengthening the engagement of Buddhist scholars and clergy.

The High Commissioner said that Buddhism is one of the strongest pillars connecting the two nations and civilisations from the time Indian Emperor Ashoka sent his children Arhat Mahinda and Theri Sangamitta to spread the teachings of The Buddha at the request of King Devanampiyatissa.