21 Apr Buddhism: A bridge between India and South-East Asia
GS PAPER-1, CULTURE AND HERITAGE
The Buddhist faith, due to its emphasis on peaceful co-existence and its wide pan-Asian presence, lends itself well to India’s soft-power diplomacy, through which India can establish strong relationships with South-Asian nations.
- Buddhism originated in India and spread to SouthEast Asia and other Asian countries from India by various kings such as Priyadarshi Ashoka. Spirituality, art, culture, and faith that found their way across other regions, earned India a considerable amount of soft power
- The Buddhist aspect of soft power relies not on the export of a cultural product, but on promoting certain shared religious and cultural associations, hence creating a mutually grown platform upon which further relations are based.
- India has various sites and its importance to the Buddhist faith, such as Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, and Nalanda which provides cultural bonds with Buddhist communities in South-Eat Asia.
Buddhism is gaining a strategic dimension and India needs initiatives like reviving Nalanda University, promoting spiritual tourism across Buddhist circuits, initiating spiritual activities in partnership with South- Asian nations, to further strengthen its soft power diplomacy.