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Myanmar: Kalam visits traditional medicine institute

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March 10, 2006 17:36 IST

The Institute of Traditional Medicine in Mandalay Friday had a distinguished visitor in President A P J Abdul Kalam.

Soon after his arrival to the second largest city of the country, Kalam drove straight to the institute and interacted with its faculty members.

The institute has 128 teaching staff and conducts a five-year course for students during which they learn about traditional medicine based on the use of herbal and animal products and related techniques such as massage, panchkarma and acupuncture.

According to history, traditional medicine was the main system of healing until modern or allopathic medicine was introduced to Myanmar by the Europeans in the 19th century.

Myanmar traditional medicine has its indigenous roots in Buddhism and in Myanmar culture, and has also been influenced by similar traditons from neighbouring countries, especially by the Indian ayurvedic tradition.

Kalam, who is the first ever Indian head of state to visit Myanmar, also visited the Kutho-Daw Pagoda located at south east of Mandalay Hill, built in 1857 by King Mindon.

Its distinctive feature is the collection of 729 stone slabs on which the entire tripitake (Buddhist scriptures) are inscribed.

These inscriptions have been described as the world's biggest book.

The pagoda is located within the campus of Priyatti Sasana University which, inter alia, has teaching facilities in Pali and Sanskrit.

The President also went to the Maha Myat Muni Pagoda, which enshrines the much venerated Maha Muni image brought over from Rakhine (Arakan) state in 1784.

The pagoda was built by King Bodawpaya and is the most revered pagoda in Mandalay.

The image is cast of bronze, but the body has long been lavishly gilded.

Within the precincts are six bronze figures of Khmer style and also a replica of the Ashoka Pillar.

After wrapping up his three-day visit to Myanmar, the first ever by an Indian head of State, Kalam will leave Mandalay Sunday morning for Port Louis on the second leg of his six-day two-nation tour.

During his three-day stay in Port Louis, Kalam will be the chief guest at the National Day celebration of Mauritius on March 12.

He will also meet President Anerood Jugnauth and Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam. Besides addressing a select audience of ministers and members of the National Assembly, he will interact with scientists and CEOs of IT companies and an agreemennt will be signed with the Telecommunications Consultants of India LimitedĀ in the context of the Pan-African e-Network project, an initiative of Kalam.

The President will also visit the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre and cyber tower, both built with Indian assistance.

Kalam's Mauritius trip follows the visit by Prime Minister Navindchandra Ramgoolam to India in October 2005 at the invitation of his counterpart Manmohan Singh, who had himself paid a visit to that country early 2005.

Indo-Mauritius relationship is embedded in history. The friendship between the two countries is based on the civilistional heritage of shared values, culture, languages and customs.

Kalam's visit is likely to further cement the existing ties of solidarity between India and Mauritius and prove to be another landmark inĀ multi-dimensional bilateral cooperation.

In an era of globalisstion, both sides are conscious of the need for comprehensive economic cooperation.

India has promised all possible assistance to Mauritius for the development of its small and cottage industries sector.

Both the countries condemn the scourge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and have reaffirmed their total engagement in the global coalition in the fight against terrorism under the aegis of the United Nations.

India and Mauritius have a unique double taxation avoidance agreement in place, besides close cooperation in various sectors, including the cultural arena.

Mauritius also supports India's candidature to a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.

Subhashis Mittra in Mandalay (Myanmar)
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