Buddhism can once again bring India and China closer
A first-of-its-kind international conference on “Shared Buddhist Heritage” began in New Delhi on Tuesday and saw participation from countries who are members of Shanghai Cooperation. The focus was on India’s civilizational connection with countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Pakistan was also there.
Being held under India’s leadership of the SCO, the two-day long event brought together Central Asian, East Asian, South Asian and Arab countries on a common platform and aims to re-establish trans-cultural links, seek out commonalities between Buddhist art of Central Asia, art styles, archaeological sites and antiquity in various museums’ collections of the SCO countries.
Shengliang Zhao, a researcher from China’s Dunhuang Research Academy and a participant at the conference stated that the event offered a huge opportunity for India and China to celebrate history. “This is what makes India and China more close to each other. This time this conference gives a huge message of India and China coming together in all aspects culturally… peacefully. We will be moving ahead with this peaceful heritage further,” Zhao said in his remarks that were translated.
“I am very much happy to be here. I am very enlightened about Buddhism and the research on it. Buddhism has a history of 1000 years. Starting from India, it has cultivated its roots in Central Asia, the Middle East and china,” he added.
China’s Dunhuang Research Academy, where Shengliang Zhao works as a researcher said that there they have a lot of relics which are related to Indian culture and Buddhism.
The intergovernmental organisation SCO, founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001, currently comprises eight member states -China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, four observer states -Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia and six “Dialogue Partners” -Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey. The eight-member countries of SCO represent around 42 per cent of the world population and 25 per cent of the global GDP.
The two-day long conference was earlier today inaugurated by Union Minister of Culture G Kishan Reddy in the presence of Union Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi and Minister of State for Culture, Arjun Ram Meghwal at Vigyan Bhawan in the national capital.
G Kishan Reddy honoured the participating delegates from SCO member countries.
India is holding the leadership of SCO for a period of one year, from September 17, 2022, till September 2023.
The conference has brought together Central Asian, East Asian, South Asian and Arab countries on a common platform to discuss “Shared Buddhist Heritage”.More than 15 scholars and delegates from China’s Dunhuang Research Academy, Kyrgyzstan’s Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology, Russia’s State Museum of the History of Religion, Tajikistan’s National Museum of Antiquities, Belarusian State University and Myanmar’s International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, etc will be presenting research papers on topic during the 2-day event.
The programme is being organized by the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of External Affairs and the International Buddhist Confederation, as a grantee body of the Ministry of Culture. A number of Indian scholars of Buddhism are also participating in the event.
The aim of the Conference is to re-establish trans-cultural links and seek out commonalities, between Buddhist art of Central Asia, art styles, archaeological sites and antiquity in various museums’ collections of the SCO countries.