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Controversy in Nepal over Jaishankar’s Buddha remarks

Leaders from the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and the opposition Nepali Congress expressed anguish over Jaishankar’s statement who said on Saturday that Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi were the two greatest Indians.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. (File)

A day after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar described Buddha as one of the two greatest “Indians”, along with Mahatma Gandhi, the remark stirred a diplomatic controversy in Nepal.

Leaders from the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and the opposition Nepali Congress expressed anguish over Jaishankar’s statement who said on Saturday that Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi were the two greatest Indians.

“Who are the two greatest Indians ever that you can remember. I would say, one is Gautam Buddha, and the other is Mahatma Gandhi. Not just the greatest Indians that you and I, as Indians remember. But the greatest Indians that the world remembers,” Jaishankar had said during a webinar on Saturday.

Read| Jaishankar holds discussion on Covid-19 with five countries

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NCP leader and former Prime Minister of Nepal, Madhav Kumar Nepal said Jaishanker’s statement was “mischievous”.

Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “It is a well-established and undeniable fact proven by historical and archaeological evidences that Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal. Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha and the fountain of Buddhism, is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites.”

“During his visit to Nepal in 2014, the Prime Minister of India H.E. Shri Narendra Modi himself, while addressing Nepal’s legislature Parliament, had said that ‘Nepal is the country where apostle of peace in the world, Buddha, was born’,” the ministry said.

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