Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will visit India later in September, primarily to lay the foundation stone of a Centre for Buddhist Studies in Madhya Pradesh’s Sanchi, home to some of the vital and finest Buddhist monuments, the PTI news agency reported.
Rajapaksa will do the honours on September 21 in the presence of Bhutanese Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigme Thinley, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj announced here in New Delhi on Saturday.
The event coincides with the celebrations to mark 2600 years of Buddha’s enlightenment. Swaraj, the MP from Vidisha under which Sanchi falls, said the Centre will come up at an area of 100 acres in Sanchi and would serve as a place of learning for all Buddhist monks from across the world.
Unveiling a painting that depicts the journey of Buddhism from India to Sri Lanka by the daughter of Emperor Ashoka Sangamitra at the Sri Lankan High Commission here in New Delhi, Swaraj said Rajapaksa and Thinley have given their consent for participation in the programmee.
Sources said Rajapaksa is likely to travel to New Delhi during the visit to hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders.