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China extends support to Nepal to develop Buddha’s birthplace
Kathmandu: China has extended support to Nepal to develop Lord Buddha’s birthplace in Lumbini, a town close to the Indo-Nepal border, into a major tourism and pilgrimage centre, as part of its efforts to woo the country by aiding its infrastructure development.
The Director of China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs, Wang Zuoan, who is here on a three-day visit, expressed readiness to provide China’s support for the development of Lumbini during a meeting with Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav yesterday, media reports said. Wang also toured Lumbini on Sunday. Nepal plans to build a “special development zone” to transform the town of Lumbini into a sprawling tourism, pilgrimage and education centre modelled on Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Siddhartha Gautama, the Lord Buddha, was born in 623 B.C. in the famous gardens of Lumbini, which has been declared as heritage site by UNESCO. Wang also met Nepal’s Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Deepak Chandra Amatya, and discussed Nepal-China cooperation in the culture sector. During President Yadav’s visit to China last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed strengthening of cooperation between the two countries in road interconnectivity, infrastructure, hydropower development, modernisation of agriculture, science and technology. Nepal is connected to China via Tibet and the two countries are planning to beef up the connectivity with rail and road links.
China has been scaling up its relations with Nepal much to the chagrin of India to stem the flow of Tibetans travelling through Nepal to meet the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala. (PTI)
Beijing recently increased its annual aid to Nepal to USD 128 million from the previous USD 24 million. China had also invited President Yadav to the annual conference Boao Forum at Boao town last month. PTI KJV PMS AKJ PMS 04061514