COLOMBO – Deputy High Commissioner of India Vinod K. Jacob met Prof. Kapila Gunawardena, Secretary, Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs to discuss implementation of the US$ 15 million grant from India for the promotion of Buddhist ties between India and Sri Lanka. The grant was announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the virtual bilateral summit between India and Sri Lanka on September 26.
The Indian High Commission in a statement said the Deputy High Commissioner, noting the grant was a first of its kind announcement by India, had said it may be utilized for construction/renovation of Buddhist monasteries, capacity development, cultural exchanges, archaeological cooperation, reciprocal exposition of The Buddha’s relics, and strengthening engagement of Buddhist scholars and clergy. Prof Gunawardena had welcomed the suggestions and stated the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs will work towards finalizing various projects to utilize the grant.
The statement said the two parties had also discussed other Indian grant projects currently under implementation in Sri Lanka 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.
It said Jacob had also briefed Prof Gunawardena 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.