Sept 22, Sanchi: India's federal structure and the emergence of states have not erased Sri Lanka's vision of India as a single land of friendship with the great bonds of history and Sri Lankan people have always considered India as a friendly land and people, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.
"I believe this tradition of embracing all of India in friendship will continue to enrich our relations," President Rajapaksa said Friday addressing the ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the Sanchi University of Buddhist and Indic Studies in Madhya Pradesh of India.
The President laid the foundation stone for the University of Buddhist and Indic Studies in the presence of dignitaries from Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Japan, Cambodia, Mongolia and Nepal.
President Rajapaksa together with Bhutan's Prime Minister Jigme Yoser Thinley planted a sapling of the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi Tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka which is believed to be a sapling of the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya under which Buddha attained enlightenment.
Thanking for the opportunity to lay the foundation stone, the President said the Buddha's message of tolerance and understanding is of great relevance today, as the "tragic results of enmity and hatred towards other faiths leading to violence and destruction, and great loss to societies" are seen.
"It is of equal importance in the East and West alike," said the President adding that undoubtedly there is a need to go back to the roots of civilizations and search for the wisdom that prevailed in the ancient world.
"The Buddhist and Indic value systems that paved the way to modern concepts of human rights and fundamental freedoms need to be revived," he noted.
The President expressed the hope that the University of Buddhist and Indic Studies will grow strong and the graduates of the University will be inspired by the Buddha's teachings.
"The Government and people of Sri Lanka and I will continue to contribute towards the success of this University," he assured.
Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Governor of Madhya Pradesh Ram Naresh Yadav, Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Indian High Commissioner in Colombo Ashok K. Kantha and Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New Delhi Prasad Kariyawasam also participated in the ceremony.
(Photos by President's Media Unit)