MEA walks back on minister’s Buddha remark

Jaishankar had said Gautam Buddha was an Indian

MEA walks back on minister’s Buddha remark

S Jaishankar. File photo

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) quickly capped a potential controversy by clarifying its Minister S Jaishankar’s observations on the country where Buddha was born. “Who are the greatest Indians ever that you can remember?” Jaishankar had asked at a webinar on Friday. “I would say one is Gautam Buddha and the other is Mahatma Gandhi,” he answered his query himself.

His stray remark at a time of rocky India-Nepal ties trended on the social media, leading to the Nepal Foreign Office pointing out that even PM Narendra Modi in his address to Nepal’s Parliament in 2014 had said, “Nepal is the country where apostle of peace Buddha was born.”

“His remarks yesterday at the CII event referred to our shared Buddhist heritage. There is no doubt that Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini, which is in Nepal,” said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava in a statement today.

Jaishankar’s remarks came weeks after Nepal PM KP Oli had courted controversy by claiming that Lord Rama was born in Nepal and was a Nepali. On that occasion, Oli was criticised for his remarks.

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