Myanmar's military ruler offers prayers at Bodh Gaya

Gen Shwe, who is leading a 77-member Myanmarese delegation, flew by a special plane to Bodh Gaya in Bihar where they offered prayers at the famous Mahabodhi Temple.

The delegation, which also visited the Buddhist heritage sites at Rajgir and Nalanda, was felicitated by Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee Secretary N Dorje and its member Arvind Kumar.

The delegation would leave for Varanasi tomorrow morning before leaving for to Delhi, where the military ruler will be accorded a red-carpet welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

He will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on economic and security co-operation and a series of trade deals are expected to be signed during the visit.

Gen Shwe is also expected to seek India's help to restore the famous Buddhist pagoda, Ananda Temple, in Myanmar.

Gen Shwe, who is Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), will also meet President Pratibha Patil. External Affairs Minister S M Krishna will call on the visiting dignitary.

His visit caps a string of high-level exchanges between the two countries before Myanmar goes to polls in November---for the first time in 20 years.

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