Lumbini to be turned into Buddhist ‘Mecca.’

Before stepping down, Nepal’s Maoist government was in a development deal to turn the town of Lumbini into a Buddhist ‘Mecca’ for pilgrimage and Buddhist education. Lumbini is the purported birthplace of the Buddha in Nepal, and the closeness with which the former Maoist government under Prachanda was with China perhaps caused international relations problems between Nepal and India, Nepal’s traditional ally. It is speculated that China’s aims were at shoring up regional support for their position in neighboring Buddhist Tibet. The project is currently shelved but the prospect my be revisited in the future. The moves are seen more as a way for China to flex its economic might in drawing India’s traditional allies more into its sphere while simultaneously securing its position in Tibet.

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