Sep 05 2015 : The Times of India (Delhi)
PM’S GAYA VISIT – Bodh Gaya likely to become spiritual capital of Buddhism
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Bodh Gaya on Saturday amid indications that he may declare the city where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment as the spiritual capital of Buddhism. Modi who will be the first PM to visit Bodh Gaya since 1954, sees the place as one which has the credentials to emerge as the “global symbol and vehicle“ for enlightenment and peace.The focus on Buddhism is part of the Modi government’s strategy to leverage In dia’s soft power to reach out to a large swathe of countries steeped in Buddhist influence. “This is an asset which was never appreciated. Civilisational affinity between India and these countries can be a force multiplier for Delhi, helping it to forge new partnerships and deepen existing ones,“ said a senior government source involved in `Samvad -Global Hindu-Buddhist Initiative on Conflict Avoidance and Environment Consciousness’. The harnessing of India’s Buddhist legacy , advocated among others by national security advisor A K Doval, has emerged as a conspicuous feature of foreign policy under Modi. “The world is discussing that the 21st century will be Asia’s century . (Though) there may be differences which Asian country the Asian century shall belong to… but an aspect possibly overlooked by those having the vision is that Buddha’s way is the sole reason why the 21st century will belong to Asia,“ Modi had said at an official function on May 4.