PM to attend meet on Indic thought

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that he will visit Bodh Gaya to attend a conference on Hindu-Buddhist thought, thereby raising the profile of an event being seen as a new kind of “track two” on Indic thought and philosophy. He had earlier cancelled a visit to the temple while in Gaya for a political rally early in August.

Mr. Modi will visit Bodh Gaya on Sept. 5, the last day of the conference, which starts on September 2. The conference titled, ‘A Global Hindu-Buddhist Initiative on Conflict Avoidance and Environment Consciousness’, is being organised by the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), which finds itself in sympathy with Sangh Parivar ideology and has contributed many officials and Ministers from among its office-bearers to the present government, including National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Nripendra Misra.

Apart from the VIF, the International Buddhist Foundation and the Japanese think tank Tokyo Foundation are involved in the event.

The idea was first articulated during Mr. Modi’s visit to Japan last year, where it was felt that there needed to be an assertion of Indic thought over the prevailing dominance of Abrahamic religions and philosophies.

Speakers at the conference include not just the Prime Minister, but External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, writer Sudha Murthy and various Dharam gurus of Hinduism and Buddhism.

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