India pledges funds Myanmar’s cycone-hit Buddhist shrine

June 4th, 2008 - 12:26 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) Underlining its cultural and spiritual links with Myanmar, India Tuesday announced a contribution of $200,000 for repair and renovation of the Shwedagon Pagoda complex in Yangon that was badly bit by a cyclone last month. The decision to help in the renovation of the holiest Buddhist shrine in Myanmar came after Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh visited Yangon last week and saw damage to some of the structures in the complex by the devastating Cyclone Nargis of May 3.

The offer was made during a recent pledging conference where around 52 countries promised rehabilitation and reconstruction aid to Myanmar.

While announcing the decision to pledge $200,000 for the Buddhist complex, the external affairs ministry underlined “close and friendly relations between the two countries, particularly India’s ancient civilizational and spiritual links with Myanmar”.

The Shwedagon Pagoda, or Golden Pagoda as it is called, is believed to house eight hairs of Gautam Buddha.

India was one of the first few countries to send relief materials to the cyclone-hit Myanmar last month.

Continuing its aid, another Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft carrying glucose bottles, tarpaulin and other relief material will leave for the neighbouring country Wednesday. This will be the sixth IL-76 flight to Myanmar.

Apart from aircraft and ships carrying relief materials, India has sent 47 army doctors who are looking after around 1,500 sick people a day. India also plans to repair the Myanmarese power system that was battered by the cyclone.

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