India has some deeply revered Buddhist sites closely linked to every phase of the life of Lord Buddha. The most important ones being Gaya where Buddha attained Nirvana, Sarnath where he gave his first sermon, and Kushinagar where he attained Mahaparinirvana.
- PRASHAD Scheme: The PRASHAD Scheme has also been used to fund 30 infrastructure development projects.
- Ministry of Tourism in India has already worked towards giving shape to the developmental and promotional activities related to the Buddhist sites in the country.
- Buddhist circuit and Spiritual circuit are among the 13 thematic circuits under which Buddhist sites are promoted in the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
- Installing signage in foreign languages at Buddhist destinations in India such as Sravasti, Sarnath, Kushinagar etc. As Sanchi in India receives a lot of Buddhist tourists from Sri Lanka, signages in Sinhalese have also been installed at the monuments in Sanchi as well.
- Iconic Tourist Sites: Buddhist sites at Bodhgaya, Ajanta, and Ellora have been identified as Iconic Tourist Sites (in order to improve India’s soft power).
- Kushinagar Airport into an international airport in order to boost tourism and economic prospects of the region.
- Buddhist Conclave: Every other year, the Buddhist Conclave is held with the goal of marketing India as a Buddhist destination to key markets throughout the world.
- Rekindling India’s ties with Buddhist countries and building strong relationships with them, given our shared values and outlook, is his moral responsibility (dharma). The associated strategic partnerships and tourism potential that derive from this enhanced partnership are second-order benefits.
- Buddhism is not limited to Asia; it has sparked spiritual awakenings in other parts of the world and impacted a variety of philosophical systems.
- India currently possesses a plethora of resources in the form of pilgrimage sites, the Dalai Lama’s presence, and international goodwill, as well as the appropriate intentions.
- The effect of Lord Buddha’s and Buddhism’s teachings can be linked to the ideals of peace, accommodation, inclusion, and compassion that are part of contemporary societies.
- Buddhism’s goals continue to collide with the political and economic realities of many Asian countries, which account for 22% of the world’s population.
- India’s soft power is often discussed in the context of its attractiveness through its culture, democracy as a political system, Bollywood (the popular name of the Mumbai film industry), and a value-based foreign policy
- Buddhism as a Soft Power in India is not the same as it is in the United States. India emphasises shared cultural growth rather than cultural export.
- Because Buddhism is ingrained in their “nationalistic” thoughts and deeds, it might heighten emotional affinity and connectivity in Asians.
- A multi-pronged approach focusing on product enhancement, bettering connectivity, and creative promotion and marketing of products could help achieve an effective strategy for inbound tourism based on themes and destinations.
- The transnational Buddhist Circuit transcends both national and state borders and since tourism is a state subject in India, there should be various levels of interaction and coordination at the international and sub-national level.
- Moreover, synergy is required between state tourism departments, the Union Ministry of Tourism, and the larger tourism industry to accommodate the interests of all stakeholders.
In keeping with its Act East Policy, India’s Buddhist legacy is not only essential from a tourism standpoint, but also as a tying factor that deepens its ties with Asian countries. Because peace and development are intertwined, the Buddha’s prism can serve as a guiding light for all stakeholders, from local institutions to global leaders, to work together to promote dialogue, harmony, and justice based on compassion and wisdom.
How to structure:
- Give an intro about India’s Buddhist heritage
- Mention the need for improving the cultural heritage- soft power, cultural ties etc.
- Discuss the measures taken by India to build ties with other nations to share the Buddhist heritage- Use a map to mark these countries
- Mention the benefits