Govt invites Indian PM, Chinese President among other dignitaries to Intl Buddhist meet

Kathmandu, May 11: The government has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, among other dignitaries to the International Buddhist Conference to be held here on May 19 and 20.

The conference is being held coinciding with the 2560th Buddha Jayanti or the birth anniversary of the Buddha which falls on May 21 this year. The conference is being held in the capital while the Buddha Jayanti commemorations would be held in Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha.Also among the invitee dignitaries include Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Chief Minister of the Indian state of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Indian state of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav, the Chief Minister of the Indian state of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Tripura Manik Sircar and the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Sikkim Pawan Chamling.

Similarly, the government ministers for culture and religious affairs from 13 countries have been invited to the conference. Culture and Religious Affairs Ministers of Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Bhutan, South Korea, Laos, Mongolia and Israel have been invited.

Representatives and delegates of Buddhist organisations from 23 countries are attending the event. They include Buddhist organisations from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Bhutan, South Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Russia, Germany, France, Austria and Canada.

It has been fixed that 92 delegations at the governmental level and others from 21 countries have confirmed their participation so far, Bachchu Narayan Shrestha, member-secretary of the Conference Organising Main Committee, said.

Meanwhile, the preparations for the International Buddhist Conference being held for the first time on the occasion of the Buddha Jayanti have reached the final stage.

Although various conferences were held in the past coinciding with the Buddha Jayanti celebrations, this is the first time that a historic conference is being held under the chairmanship of Executive chief of the country by inviting international representatives and renowned persons.

The government had made preparations for organising the International Buddhist Conference in Kathmandu from last year. Altogether 24 international standard working papers on Buddha and Buddhism including 18 by scholars and researchers from Nepal are to be presented in the conference.

Similarly, the government has made preparations for celebrating the Buddha Jayanti with enthusiasm and in a grand manner along with various religious rituals as per the Buddhist custom in Lumbini on May 21.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli heads the 501-member International Buddhist Conference Organising and the 2560th Buddha Jayanti Celebration Main Committee. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation is the main organiser of the event.

A 101-member working committee has also been formed under the chairmanship of Minister for Culture Ananda Prasad Dhungana for this purpose. Likewise, 13 different sub-committees under the Main Committee are working to make the conference a success.