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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.

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