On Sunday, Kushinagar International Airport in Uttar Pradesh welcomed the first group of Buddhist travellers. A series of high-level Buddhist delegations arrived at the airport from Vietnam and Thailand. The delegation was led by Vice President and General Secretary of the Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam, Thich Duc Thien. Apparently, Thich Duc Thien studied Buddhism at Delhi University and is an alumnus of Indian Council International Relations. He is currently a member of the Vietnamese Parliament.
The delegation reached Kushinagar on March 27 via a special charter flight and the monks were met by the regional legislative member at the airport. The team of Vietnamese and Thai Buddhists also donated 1000 USD to the local legislator for the development of the airport.
Kushinagar Airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 20 last year. The main purpose behind the opening of this airport is to facilitate Buddhist pilgrims around the world seamless connectivity to various sites in India connected to Lord Buddha.
At present, the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) is the only government-recognized Buddhist organization in Vietnam and a number of high-ranking VBS monks have studied in India. Recently, the VBS and the Indian Embassy in Hanoi co-organized a quiz on Buddhism.
As a prize, Vietnam quiz winners are taken to India and visit various Buddhist sites in the country. Likewise, winners from countries such as Sri Lanka, Thailand and Japan will also soon visit the land of Buddha.