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India formally hands over Bodhi Tree sapling to South Korea

Posted on Mar 20 2014 | IANS

Seoul, March 20 : India has formally handed over to South Korea a sapling of the sacred Bodhi Tree from Bodh Gaya, fulfilling an offer Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made to South Korean President Park Geun-hye, as a special gesture of India's friendship and goodwill, when she visited India in January.

Anil Wadhwa, secretary (east) in India's external affairs ministry, and Vishnu Prakash, India's ambassador to South Korea, formally handed over the sapling to South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Forest Minister Shin Won-sop in a solemn ceremony here Wednesday, according to a statement issued by the Indian embassy.

Both the ministers received the sapling on behalf of President Park.

Earlier this month, it was carried by representatives of India's external affairs ministry and the forest service of South Korea from India to the Far East nation, a quarter of whose population of 50 million are Buddhists.

The sapling will be temporarily housed at the Korea National Arboretum and, in due course, shifted to its permanent abode at a prominent Buddhist temple in this country to enable Buddhists to pay their respects, something that is being seen as yet another "powerful symbol" of India-South Korea friendship and close people-to-people ties.

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