Hon’ble Shri. Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State (Home), Government of India, participated in the Symposium on ‘Shared Values and Democracy in Asia’ today in Tokyo. This symposium is a follow up to the Hindu Buddhist Global Initiative for Conflict Avoidance and Environment Consciousness held in New Delhi on 3 September 2015 and is a part of the Global Hindu-Buddhist Initiative conceived during Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s State Visit to Japan in August-September 2014. The symposium in Tokyo is organised by the Nikkei Inc and co-organised by The Tokyo Foundation, The Japan Foundation and the Vivekananda International Foundation (India) in collaboration with International Buddhist Conference and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan.
Prior to the symposium, H.E. Shri Sujan R. Chinoy, Ambassador of India to Japan and Mr. Hiroyasu Ando, President of Japan Foundation hosted an exclusive reception for the participants and a select gathering from all sections of the Japanese and the diplomatic community on 18 January 2016. Hon’ble Minister of State (Home), H.E. Ambassador of India, President of the Japan Foundation and Secretary General of International Buddhist Organisation addressed the gathering at the reception that was attended by, interalia, former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia. Hon’ble Shri M. L. Khattar, Chief Minister of Haryana, the first leader of any State in India to visit Japan in 2016, also graced the reception. The Hon’ble Chief Minister is accompanied by a large business delegation to further promote and enhance the existing strong economic engagement that Haryana State has with Japan.
Hon’ble Minister of State (Home) delivered the Opening Remarks at the Symposium, on behalf, of the Government of India. Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video message was a very inspiring part of the proceedings touching upon the common value system, across Asian civilizations, which could avoid conflicts among humans and between humans and nature. Hon’ble Prime Minister also said that it is universally accepted that this century belongs to Asia. H.E. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe himself delivered the Closing Remarks at the all-important event. The Symposium was attended by renowned Asian political, social, academic and religious leaders from a number of Asian countries, apart from India and Japan, including Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore and China.
In his address at the Symposium, the Hon’ble Minister of State (Home) underlined that Samvad/dialogue holds the key to good relations and that for the 21st Century to be the Asian century, democratic societies must work together to preserve and promote non-conflicting traditions and democratic values. India is today the world’s fastest growing large economy and it’s economic & social transformation under the dynamic leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is strongly rooted in our democratic ideals. Some of the highlights/excerpts of the Hon’ble Minister’s address were:
“ There is enough room for all countries of Asia to prosper together. At the same time, a multitude of identities and interests have prevented us from achieving better results.
Principles of democracy have been an integral part of India and Oriental civilizations and their spiritual traditions. The origin of democracy and democratic values in these societies can be traced back to the teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism and Shintoism and other philosophies which emphasized the collective good of society. Both Hinduism and Buddhism encouraged differing thoughts and viewpoints. They advocated dialogue and emphasized the power of change and conviction through a democratic process. This provided a strong cultural base for societies development and acceptance of diversity. For democracies to flourish, it is essential that Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam come together.
Today, when the world is witnessing increasing levels of polarization in conflict situations, democratic societies’ must work together to preserve and promote non-conflicting traditions and democratic values. We need to resolve our difference through peaceful dialogue, through better Samvad as we would say in India. We need to seek greater convergence in our mindsets. We need to distill the wisdom inherent in our Asian heritage to show us the way forward.
I am confident that the 21st century will prove to be the Asian century. The world is looking up to Asia not only to provide the engines for global economic recovery but also for ideas and leadership critical for harmonious global relations. Asia should be capable of meeting global challenges emerging from conflict-prone ideologies and societies.”
Hon’ble Minister of State (Home) met H.E. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the official banquet hosted by the Prime Minister for the participants, at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence, after the Symposium. He will also travel to Nara, as part of the Symposium, to visit the Todai-ji Temple, which has a long association with India, where the consecration or eye-opening of the towering statue of Lord Buddha was performed by an Indian monk, Bodhisena, in 752 AD. He would also meet HE Governor of Nara Mr Shogo Aria at Nara.