The construction of the ‘India International Centre for Buddhist Culture & Heritage’ — to be undertaken by the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), India, with financial support from the Ministry of Culture — comes decades after most foreign nations, including US, China, Canada, France, Germany and Thailand, among others, built their centres in Lumbini as an instrument of promoting Buddhist philosophy.
Modi’s visit and his laying the foundation stone for the Buddhist Culture Centre — estimated to cost INR 1 billion and take three years to complete — will mark India’s first attempt to develop strong linkages with Nepal’s Buddhist heritage sites.
Sources in Kathmandu said the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) will sign two Memoranda of Understanding with authorities in Nepal — one on setting up the Dr B R Ambedkar Chair for Studies on Buddhism at Lumbini University and another on a Chair Professor at Kathmandu University.
India’s Ministry of Tourism has collaborated with Nepal to build a trans-national Buddhist Tourist Circuit to trace the footsteps of Buddha, starting from Lumbini and concluding at Kushinagar. An international airport was recently inaugurated at Kushinagar.