India’s gift to South Korea: A sacred Bodhi Tree sapling

Seoul, March 8: South Korea, almost a quarter of whose population of 50 million are Buddhists, has received a sapling of the sacred Bodhi Tree from India’s Bodh Gaya town, a fulfilment of an offer Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made to South Korean President Park Geun-hye, as a special gesture of India’s friendship and goodwill, when she visited India in January this year.

The sapling, carried by representatives of India’s external affairs ministry and the forest service of South Korea, was received at Seoul airport Friday by Vishnu Prakash, India’s ambassador to South Korea, Jeong Byeongwho, deputy director general of South Korea’s foreign ministry, and Lee Chang-jae, director general of the Korean Forest Service, according to a press statement issued by the Indian embassy in Seoul.

The sapling will be temporarily housed at the Korea National Arboretum and, in due course, shifted to its permanent abode at a prominent Buddhist temple in this country to enable Buddhists to pay their respects, something that is being seen as yet another “powerful symbol” of India-South Korea friendship and close people-to-people ties.

IANS