Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Parvathaneni Harish (L) presents Padma Shri award to Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien (Source: Vietnamnet.vn) 

Hanoi (VNA) – Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, was awarded with Padma Shri – the fourth highest civilian award of India – at a ceremony in Hanoi on May 27.

Speaking at the event, Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Parvathaneni Harish said the honour is in recognition of Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien’s contributions in religion and tightening Buddhist cooperation between the two countries.

The diplomat wished Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien more success and hoped he will contribute more to bilateral ties.

Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan, President of the Vietnam-India Friendship Association, said the Vietnam-India relationship originated from cultural and religious exchanges and was founded by late President Ho Chi Minh and India’s late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Over the years, the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha and Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien have carried out activities to boost Vietnam’s relations with Indian organisations and the Indian Embassy in Vietnam, helping boost ties between the two peoples, Tuan added.

For his part, Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien, also Vice President of the Vietnam-India Friendship Association, expressed his honour and pride to receive such a noble award.

He said Vietnamese Buddhism always stands side by side with the nation and acts as a bridge connecting Vietnam and India.

He also vowed to do his best to enhance the Vietnam-India friendship and preserve Indian Buddhism historical and cultural relic sites in Vietnam.

Padma Shri is a noble award of India normally presented to Indian citizens with outstanding achievements in numerous fields, ranging from science, literature, arts, education, health, diplomacy to industry, trade and social work.

In 2018, the award is being granted to citizens in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the occasion of the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit. Most Venerable Thich Duc Thien is the first Vietnamese to receive the honour.-VNA