VIETNAM-INDIA STRENGTHENS TIES
New Delhi: Indo-Vietnam cultural linkages are well known. Vietnam, a key strategic and economic player in South-East Asia, is now keen to trace back its Buddhist legacy to India, rather than China. Top Vietnamese monks have discovered that Buddhism in Vietnam can be traced to India like the Buddhist heritage of some other South-East Asian nations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pushed Buddhism diplomacy during his recent trip to Hanoi. India had announced special annual scholarships for Vietnamese students in advanced Buddhist studies at Masters/Doctoral level and scholarships of a year for study of Sanskrit at Indian institutes for Buddhist Sangha members. What has further strengthened cultural bonds is that several Vietnamese citizens have started visiting Bodh Gaya over the past few years, including Vietnam’s top four leaders — general secretary of the Communist Party, the President, Prime Minister and Speaker of the National Assembly. While there are theories of Buddhism reaching Vietnam from China in the first or second century AD, monks in that nation now claim it reached their shores a century or two earlier from India. Economic Times
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Quan Su Pagoda, in Hanoi, Vietnam on Saturday last week addressing Buddhist monks at the temple.