“5th International Buddhist Conclave” was inaugurated by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism and Culture here today. Mr. Karu Jayasuriya, Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka, Ms. Chavanee Tongroach, Vice Minister of Tourism and Sports of Kingdom of Thailand, Mr.Marcio Favilla, Executive Director, UNWTO, Prof. Lokesh Chandra, President of Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Shri Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, M/o Tourism also graced the inaugural ceremony. With a view to showcasing and projecting the Buddhist heritage and pilgrim sites of India, the Ministry of Tourism is organizing the Conclave from 2nd to 6th October 2016 in Varanasi-Sarnath & Bodhgaya in collaboration with the State Governments of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. More than 275 persons from 39 countries are participating in this Conclave.
Delivering inaugural address, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that the solution of all modern day problems lies in Buddhism. The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi accords very high priority to Buddhism and which is reflected in record number more than 275 participants from 39 countries. And such a large number of participation of Buddhist delegates means a lot to us. He opined that the Buddhism has now become a world religion. He informed the participants that the Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned huge amount of money for development of Buddhist circuit. His ministry has taken a lot of new initiatives in recent years for providing better facilities and help to foreign tourists visiting India, he added.
In his address, Mr. Karu Jayasuriya said that India, the Land of Buddha, is most favourite tourist destination in Sri Lanka because of many Buddhist pilgrimages. He said that Sri Lanka became a Buddhist country after Sanghmitra, the daughter of King Ashok visited Sri Lanka for spreading Buddhism.Ms. Chavanee Tongroach in her address said that India is the Land of Buddha and most of the Buddhist pilgrimage places are situated in India. She said that she feels privileged to visit such a place.
Prof. Lokesh Chandra in his address threw light on various Glimpses of the Life of Buddha and narrated the great contributions of Buddhism to the World, like Printing is the gift of Buddhism to the humanity. He opined that Buddhism has kissed the World with compassion. Mr.Marcio Favilla applauded the various initiatives of Ministry of Tourism for better facilities to tourists and wished the Conclave a big success.
Ms. Ani Choying Drolma, world renowned Buddist Nun from Nepal presented a Song and a video message from Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary General, UNWTO was run on the occasion.