Rajgir (Bihar): External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid today advocated for inclusion of the ancient Nalanda University in Bihar in the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.
"The university deserves a place in the world`s heritage list," he told reporters after a Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting in Rajgir, about 80 km from Patna.
Khurshid said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar`s proposal for inclusion of Nalanda university, the Buddhist seat of learning in ancient times, in the world heritage list has reached Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
The union minister said the Centre would extend all assistance, including special arrangements in the budget, to accelerate the construction process of Nalanda University so that the academic session could be started at the earliest.
He said cultural diplomacy today holds primacy in betterment of relations with other nations.
"Trade and financial relationship are developed between two nations but cultural diplomacy has emerged as a more effective tool of establishing international relations as it establishes a chord between people of one country with another," Khurshid said.
Besides Khurshid, eight members of Parliament participated in the meeting at the newly constructed International convention centre at Rajgir, the tourist hotspot of Bihar in Nalanda district.
The MPs who attended the meeting included Vijay Bahadur Singh, D Raja, Arjun Meghwal, Abdul Rahman, N K Raghvan, Ask Ali Tak, RCP Singh and Tarun Vijay.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who was present at the meeting hailed Nalanda University`s revival plan and said it was his desire that the place regains its pristine glory and serve as venue for resolving international dispute.
Ministry of External Affairs is piloting the Nalanda university revival plan.
India, along with 16 countries of East Asia, are involved with the project to see Nalanda emerge as "icon of Asian renaissance". The proposed university is expected to contribute to the promotion of regional peace and vision by bringing together the future leaders of the East Asia.
Noble prize winner economist Amartya Sen is the Chancellor of Nalanda University.