Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Asaadh Poornima and the inauguration of the Dharma Chakra Day, on Saturday, said India wants to focus on connectivity to Buddhist sites to improve tourism.
The Prime Minister's remark came at a time when the country is passing through its worst economic phase and needs improvement in all sectors including tourism to attract revenue.
"We want to focus on connectivity to Buddhist sites. A few days back the Indian cabinet announced that Kushinagar airport will be an international one. This will bring people, pilgrims and tourists," Modi said.
Addressing through video conferencing, Modi said he is very hopeful about the 21st century and this hope comes from young friends. He lauded the efforts of youths in start-up sectors saying, "If you want to see a great example of how hope, innovation and compassion can remove suffering, it is our start-up sector led by our youths,"
Noting that bright young minds are finding solutions to global problems, the Prime Minister said India has one of the largest start-up eco-systems and I would urge my young friends to also stay connected with the thoughts of Lord Buddha so that they could be motivated and find the way ahead.
The Prime Minister said that the event is also known as Guru Purnima. "This is a day to remember our gurus who gave us knowledge. In that spirit, we pay homage to Lord Buddha," PM said.
"The eight-fold path of Lord Buddha shows the way towards the well-being of many societies and nations. It highlights the importance of compassion and kindness. The teachings of Lord Buddha celebrate simplicity, both in thought and action," He said.
Buddhism teaches respect for people, the poor and women, for peace and non-violence. "Therefore, the teachings of Buddhism are the means to a sustainable planet."
"In his very first sermon in Sarnath, and his teachings after that, Lord Buddha spoke on two things -- hope and purpose. He saw a strong link between them. From hope comes a spirit of purpose," the Prime Minister said.
Talking of the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Prime Minister said the world is fighting against this virus with extraordinary challenges. To these challenges, he said, lasting solutions can come from the ideals of Lord Buddha. "They were relevant in the past. They are relevant in the present. And, they will continue to remain relevant in the future."
"May the thoughts of Lord Buddha further brighten togetherness and brotherhood. May his blessings inspire us to do good," the Prime Minister added.
This day is also aptly observed as Guru Poornima by both Buddhists and Hindus as a day to mark reverence to their Gurus. The day is celebrated as Dharma Chakra Day by the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), under the Ministry of Culture. This day commemorates Buddha's First Sermon to his first five ascetic disciples at the Deer Park, Rsipatana in the present-day Sarnath near Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.