Phnom Penh, Nov. 20: Sri Lanka has become the latest country to evince interest in engaging with the process o set up Nalanda University in Bihar.
Addressing the media following a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao here yesterday, foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai said the two leaders reviewed the ongoing status of the university.
Earlier, China had evinced interest in the university and donated $1billion for its reconstruction.
Mathai said: “A number of universities have expressed interest in collaborating with us. The main task of developing the university is, of course, with us in India. There is an officer in the external affairs ministry who specifically deals with Nalanda. There is foreign participation from China, Singapore, Japan and Cambodia. Several countries, including Sri Lanka, have expressed interest in the university.”
Political observers, however, fear that it might be “difficult” for India to get Sri Lanka on board the project because of the troubled ethnic relations involving the Sinhalas and the Tamils of the island.
Politicians in Tamil Nadu had expressed resentment when Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse recently visited the Sanchi stupa in Madhya Pradesh. MDMK leader Vaiko had taken a dig at the BJP for not asking its Madhya Pradesh chief minister to cancel Rajapakse’s trip.