Aurangabad (India) and Dunhuang (China), the two cities, which are divided by geographical boundaries, on Thursday, were united due to their historic past and religion. They have become the sister cities officially, as the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang signed the agreement, in Beijing yesterday. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis also witnessed the historic pact as he is also on the PM's tour. India and China also signed an agreement on the establishment of the sister city relations between Chennai and Chongqing and Hyderabad and Qingdao, besides the agreement to develop the sister state relations between Karnataka and Sichuan.Chinese delegation in city
A delegation of Dunhuang (Gansu Province in China) led by mayor Jia Taibin was in the city and had called on the mayor of Aurangabad, Kala Ozha, on March 10, 2015. The meeting was an initiative of the Indo-China Friendship Association (ICFA). The meeting had hinted at signing of the agreement as 'sister cities', which will help both the countries to exchange or share their good practices, promote and strengthen tourism, cultural and business relations as both Aurangabad and Dunhuang are historic cities and are known across the globe for having Buddhist Caves. The Chinese delegation had comprised Director (Department of Culture of Gansu Province) E Jun, Director (Duanhung Academy) Su Bomin and Counsel General of People's Republic of China (Mumbai) Zheng Xiyuan and many others.
After winding up the meeting with the past mayor, deputy director general (Foreign Affairs) Lu Xinglai had mentioned of offering one month Fellowship to five local persons in Gansu-China, four scholarships to local students desirous to pursue higher education or undertake research from their universities (in China), exchange of cultural visits to China and identify business potential and develop commercial, cultural and tourism relations etc. MTDC, ASI and Bamu also have a role to play in promoting tourism, research and education abroad.Benefits of agreement!
Aurangabad is located on the famous ancient Silk Route that traversed across Asia to Europe while Dunhuang was also a major stop on the ancient Silk Route. Besides, Aurangabad is well-known for its Buddhists Caves due to the world heritage sites Ajanta (30 caves) and Ellora (34 caves), while Dunhuang is best known for the Mogao Caves (735 caves). The sister city agreement between Aurangabad and Dunhuang will help the State Government to promote India-China culture and tourism centred on Buddhism, which is common to both destinations and nations. Both the countries will market the heritage sites and places of interests of the two cities, aggressively.
It was learnt that India would organise a curated exhibition on the Chinese Buddhist monk Hsuan Tsang in India while Virtual Museums on Indian Culture will be developed in China. The director general (ASI) and the director general (National Museum) will also be visiting China for the purpose of academics and research on the cave murals of Aurangabad and Dunhuang. India is also hoping to procure Buddhist texts, if any, from Chinese temples, for translation into Sanskrit after the treaty.