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India Reacts as Nepal Fumes Over Jaishankar Calling Buddha 'Indian', Some Link Vyas & Valmiki to Hill Nation

File photo of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

File photo of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Sunday said the minister's remarks on Saturday at an event 'referred to our shared Buddhist heritage.'

India on Sunday dismissed the controversy over the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, saying External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's remarks on him was about "our shared Buddhist heritage" and there's "no doubt" that the founder of Buddhism was born in Nepal's Lumbini.

During a webinar on Saturday, Jaishankar mentioned about India's moral leadership and how Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi's teachings are still relevant.

However, the Nepalese media quoted him as saying that Buddha was an Indian.

In New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Sunday said the minister's remarks on Saturday at an event "referred to our shared Buddhist heritage."

"There is no doubt that Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini, which is in Nepal," Srivastava said.

Earlier, Nepalese Foreign Ministry raised objection over Jaishankar's remark quoted in the Nepalese media, saying "it is a well-established and undeniable fact proven by historical evidence that Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal."

The official spokesperson of the Nepal Foreign Ministry said that 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, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, addressing Nepal's Parliament said, "Nepal is the country where the apostle of peace in the world, Buddha, was born, recalled the Nepalese Foreign Ministry.

"Buddhism spread from Nepal to other parts of the world in the subsequent period and the matter remains beyond doubt and controversy."

Former prime minister and senior leader of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal Madhav Kumar Nepal said the alleged statement made by Jaishankar that Buddha was a great Indian is "baseless and objectionable".

Nepal's former foreign secretary Madhuraman Acharya tweeted: "If the enlightenment and preaching in India is to be used to claim that Buddha was an Indian, then most of the Rishi’s munis like Vyas, Valmiki and Patanjali who India claims to be their own are Nepalis because they medidated, wrote treatises and achieved moksha in Nepal!"

Similarly, Nepali Congress spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma also said, "Lord Buddha was born in Nepal."

(With PTI inputs)