International Buddhist Confederation recently hosted the first-ever Shanghai Cooperation Organisation ( SCO) conference on shared Buddhist Heritage. More than 20 SCO delegates attended the conference in person and many more joined online. The two-day event concluded on 15 March at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. India is the centre of Buddhism and it used this opportunity to display its deep-rooted ties with Buddhism and its role in preserving and promoting its heritage.
The SCO Conference on Shared Buddhist Heritage acted as a platform for member states, observers, and dialogue partners to exchange ideas and explore opportunities for cooperation in the domain of Buddhist heritage. The aim of the conference was to facilitate discussions on how to preserve and promote Buddhist heritage and explore the scope of Buddhist tourism which might benefit Bhutan as well, even it not being a member country.
The connection between the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Buddhism runs deep, as several member states, such as India, China, Central Asian Republics and even Russia have Buddhist heritage. Buddhism has a long history in Central Asia and had a significant influence on the culture and history of Central Asia, with many temples and monasteries being built throughout the region. Buddhist heritage can still be found in countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, where ancient ruins, art, and artefacts speak about their presence in the past.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was founded over 20 years ago and comprises eight member countries, including Russia, India, China, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The SCO is a crucial regional organisation that aims to promote economic, political, and military cooperation among its members. The organisation covers over 60% of the Eurasian landmass, 40% of the world population, and 30% of the global GDP.