Honorable Dr. B. Venugopal, Director of Indian Museum
Honorable Chief Guest, Prof. Suranjan Das, Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, Indian Museum,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to come to Indian Museum tonight to attend the Launching Ceremony of the International Exhibition on "Indian Buddhist Art". First of all, on behalf of the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China, I would like to express my warm congratulations to Indian Museum for the remarkable achievements you have made in promoting the cultural exchange between China and India. I would also like express my sincere thanks to the Indian friends from all walks of life for their efforts in organizing the International Exhibition on "Indian Buddhist Art".
Since I came to Kolkata last December, I have visited Indian Museum many times because the prestigious Indian Museum is a must-see place for almost all the Chinese delegations to Kolkata. My heart is always filled with deep respect for this renowned museum with 200-year history every time I look at the time-honored carvings of "1814" on the main gate. The museum is a treasure house which is home to numerous Indian works of arts and culture; it is also the showcase of the long-lasting Indian history and great civilization. Furthermore, it is the bridge which connects the deep friendship of Indian people and people from all other countries in the world.
Each visit to Indian Museum is like a visit to school where we can learn so much. By learning the past of India, we can better understand the brisk development of India today and are even more convinced of the brilliant future of India because India is an ancient civilization with profound historic connotation and powerful cultural vitality.
One month back, Chinese President Mr Xi Jinping paid a successful historic state visit to India. Among the extensive consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, strengthening the cultural exchange is the important objective that our two countries will be striving for in the future.
Buddhist culture has always had very special importance in the cultural exchange of the two countries. In Premier Modi's hometown Gujirat, the first stop of President Xi's state visit, Mr Xi said that Gujirat is the place where Xuan Zang, the eminent monk of the Tang Dynasty passed by, stayed and learned the Buddhist Scriptures. He also mentioned that it is in Xi'an, his hometown that Xuan Zang preached to crowds after he brought the Buddhist Scriptures back to China. President Xi extended his warm invitation to Premier Modi to visit Xian, the place where Xuan Zang deposited the Sutras and translated the Scriptures. Premier Modi also remarked that India and China are two bodies, one spirit.
Historically, Buddhist culture has marked a magnificent chapter in the friendly exchange of China and India.
Buddhism originated from Indian, and was introduced to China 2000 years back. It flourished in China and was brought to Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries through China. Buddhist culture has been an indispensable part of Chinese traditional culture. In China Buddhist culture has been integrated into ordinary people's life, cultural tradition and ideology no matter whether we are Buddhists or not.
The famous Chinese Classic <Journey to the West> based on the Xuan Zang's Pilgrimmage to India for Scripture has been a household masterpiece in China for many generations. Nowadays, attracted by Buddhist culture, more and more Chinese tourists are coming to the Buddhist Holy Land such as bodhgaya, kushinagar, nalanda and SRAVASTI.
I strongly believe that the International Exhibition on "Indian Buddhist Art" hosted by Indian Museum will be warmly welcomed by Chinese people and it will further strengthen the understanding of history of the friendly exchange between China and India as well as the long-lasting history and the splendid culture of India.
Ladies and gentlemen,
"Exchanges and Mutual Learning Make Civilizations Richer and More Colorful". Our ancestors have created miracles in the cultural exchange between our two countries by overcoming unimaginable difficulties and obstacles and have set a glorious example for us to follow.
With the rapid development of the modern technology in transportation and communication in this new era, we are even more confident that we will be able to push the exchange and cooperation between the two great civilizations to a new height.
Next month, the International Exhibition on "Indian Buddhist Art" will leave India for a journey to China by following the ancient Silk Road that it trailed 2000 years back. It is a journey of culture, a journey of friendship, a journeny of exchange as well as a journey of cooperation. We strongly believe that it will bring to China the culture and friendship of Indian people and return to India with the culture and friendship of Chinese people.
Finally, I wish the International Exhibition on "Indian Buddhist Art" a complete success.
Thank you !