Prime Minister Narendra Modi today presented his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong a replica of 6th century Buddhagupta Stele that bears Sanskrit phrases and symbolises the transmission of Buddhism from India to Southeast Asia.
Modi presented the replica to Lee when the two leaders met for bilateral talks.
The inscription on the stone was the product of a Buddhist community that was residing along the coast of the Malay Peninsula, likely a sangha of local and Indian monks supported by Malays and Indian merchants who had settled in the area, sources said.
The stele bears Sanskrit phrases in Pallava script and serves as an important evidence of the transmission of Buddhism from India to Southeast Asia, particularly the Straits and the Malay peninsular region.
It was discovered by Lt. Col. James Low of the East India Company in Bujang Valley, Kedah, in 1834, in association with brick and laterite ruins of what was assumed to be a Buddhist monument.
The original Buddhagupta Stele is currently housed at the Indian Museum, Kolkata. The replica was made by the Ministry of Culture in association with the Indian Museum in Kolkata.