Carrying India in his heart, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also carries Indian Culture in his diplomatic armoury. The same was on display again when PM Modi presented his Singapore equal H.E. Mr Lee Hsien Loong a replica of 6th century CE Buddhagupta Stele. Bearing Sanskrit phrases in Pallava script, it serves as a historical evidence of the transmission of Buddhism from India to Southeast Asia, particularly the Straits and the Malay peninsular region.
The Stele was discovered in 1834 by Lt. Col. James Low of the East India Company in Bujang Valley, Kedah, in association with brick and laterite ruins of what was assumed to be a Buddhist monument. 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.
The replica was made by the Ministry of Culture in association with the Indian Museum in Kolkata. The original Buddhagupta Stele is currently housed at the Indian Museum, Kolkata.