Deputy High Commissioner of India Vinod K. Jacob met Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Secretary Prof. Kapila Gunawardena to discuss implementation of the $ 15 million grant from India for promotion of Buddhist ties between India and Sri Lanka.
The grant was announced by Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during the Virtual Bilateral Summit held between India and Sri Lanka on 26 September.
The Deputy High Commissioner noted that this is a first of its kind grant announcement by Indiaand stated that the grant may be utilised for construction/renovation of Buddhist monasteries, capacity development, cultural exchanges, archaeological cooperation, reciprocal exposition of The Buddha’s relics, strengthening engagement of Buddhist scholars and clergy etc. Prof. Gunawardena welcomed the suggestions and stated that the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs will work towards finalising various projects to utilise this grant from India.
The two sides also discussed other Indian grant projects currently under implementation such as the Kandyan Dancing School being constructed at the Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy (SIBA) campus in Pallekele, Kandy and the Jaffna Cultural Centre.
Deputy High Commissioner also briefed the Secretary on India’s advancements in the niche field of digital documentation of cultural and world heritage sites in order to preserve them for posterity and invited Sri Lanka to partner in this advanced field. Prof. Gunawardena noted that Sri Lanka would be happy to partner with India in this initiative to conserve cultural heritage.