Inaugural session of International Seminar on India’s North Eastern Region and Buddhist Heritage – Bridge between South Asia and South East Asia
The inaugural session was attended by delegates and observers from 12 countries (list attached), including the Deputy High Commissioner of Sri Lanka, the Deputy Chief of Mission of Laos, the Deputy Chief of Mission of Vietnam and the Political Consular of Vietnam.
The Chief Guest on the occasion was Shri Manik Sarkar, Honourable Chief Minister of Tripura. The Guests of Honour were Shri Ananda Prasad Pokharel, Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal, and Ven. AthuraliyeRathanaThero, Member of Parliament from Sri Lanka.
The important points mentioned by the speakers were as follows:
The North East lies in the middle of a long series of river basins – Indus, the Gangetic plains, Brahmaputra, Mekong and Irrawady. They are all contiguous river basins with very little high mountains in between, and flanked by the mighty Himalayas on top. Thus South and South East Asia, despite political borders, is one contiguous land mass in the underbelly of the Himalayas. This has enabled the migration of peoples, thoughts, genes, plants connected by an interconnected system of rivers. India’s North Eastern region lies between two formations, namely South and South East Asia. This may not always have been understood because often the discourse about the North East is that it has seven separate states that were formed quite recently. Thus one of the themes is to highlight this region as a part of a bigger geography.
There are many Buddhist sites in the North East that need to be explored. We also need to celebrate the confluence of political will, economic might and knowledge based on the timeless values espoused by our masters and spiritual traditions. As we go forward in our common quest for peace and prosperity, we also need to seek answers to questions such as “what is our relationship to each other” and “what is our relationship to the environment”.