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Reviving Nalanda University praiseworthy - Australian PM

Daily EduNews, November 12, 2009

New Delhi, India -- Reviving Nalanda University praiseworthy - Australian PM New Delhi: Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Kevin Rudd, today delivered an important speech on strategic affairs and the Australia-India relationship at the Indian Council for World Affairs (ICWA) in New Delhi.

In his speech, he praised the Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh's intention of reviving the 13th century centre of Buddhist learning, the NalandaUniversity that has helped to spread Indian thought across Asia.

His excitement over 'reviving this great regional centre of learning' is based on his association with Australian National University from which he pursued his Bachelors in Asian Studies.

"It is a great university that brought together the systematic study of the high civilizations of East Asia (my own specialization), South Asia, Central Asia and South-East Asia," recalled the PM.

Nalanda University will be upgraded to an International Centre of Excellence not only in the field of education but also for regional understanding and co-operation among the South Asian countries.

Taking the issue to the desk of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) conference held recently, Dr. Singh appealed to all the members of the association to be proactive in setting up of the anticipated Nalanda InternationalUniversity.

The SAARC members enthusiastically responded the PM's appeal.

Rudd then plunged back to his undergraduate days where he studied under Prof. Arthur Basham, the author of a masterpiece 'The Wonder That WasIndia'. He fondly remembered his professor and shared his experience with everyone.

"Basham sitting in his study patiently introduced me to the impact of India on China through the arrival of waves of Indian Buddhist missionaries from the Han to the Tang - bringing with them entirely different notions of the role of the state to that which had already become entrenched through China's Confucianism," said Rudd.

This seminal book was recently re-issued here in India - suggesting that Basham's judgments have stood the test of time.


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