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India's Buddhist Diplomacy: Relics Given State Honours on Departure from Thailand

© Photo : TwitterIndia's Buddhist Diplomacy: Relics Given State Honours on Departure from Thailand
India's Buddhist Diplomacy: Relics Given State Honours on Departure from Thailand - Sputnik India, 1920, 19.03.2024
Nearly four million people from Thailand and neighbouring Southeast Asian nations paid their respects to the sacred Buddhist relics over the last 26 days, according to Thailand's Culture Ministry.
The rare relics of Lord Buddha and his two disciples have departed Thailand for India aboard a special Indian Air Force (IAF) flight after their exposition across the country, according to an Indian Embassy statement on Tuesday.
The embassy said that a high-profile Indian Buddhist delegation led by Tashi Gyalson, the chair of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), accompanied the relics back to New Delhi.

The relics of Lord Buddha and his chief disciples, Sariputra and Moggallana, travelled to Thailand last month for a 26-day multi-city exposition, according to an Indian statement. They were loaned to Thailand at the request of the government, New Delhi has said.

Upon arrival in Bangkok on 22 February, the relics and a high-profile Indian delegation accompanying them were received by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.
The Indian Embassy said on Tuesday that the relics were accorded a guard of honour in a ceremony attended by Culture Minister Sermsak Pongpanit on their departure from Krabi.
The sacred relics were exhibited at four cities – Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ubon Ratchathani and Krabi during their stay in Thailand.
Addressing a press conference on the final day of the exposition in Krabi on Monday, Indian Ambassador to Bangkok, Nagesh Singh, said the the exposition of the relics in Thailand have renewed the "spiritual bond" between India and Thailand to realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "vision of leveraging eternal consciousness of Dhamma for ushering century of Asia."
Modi has described the ideals of Lord Buddha as a "spiritual bridge" between Thailand and India.
The exhibition of the Indian Buddhist relics in Thailand, a predominantly Buddhist nation, is viewed as part of New Delhi's soft power projection in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, particularly the sub-Mekong countries of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
India and ASEAN upgraded their ties to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) in 2022.
Exile Tibetan Buddhist monks wearing yellow hats of the Gelug school of the Tibetan Buddhism pray during an early morning session to mark the first day of the Tibetan new year at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharamshala, India, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024. - Sputnik India, 1920, 08.03.2024
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