India names airport after Buddhist priest

AFP, June 10, 2005

LEH, Ladakh (India) -- Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a rare visit on Friday to Buddhist-dominated Ladakh region of occupied Kashmir, the first leg of a trip to visit frontline troops on Siachen.

Manmohan Singh took part in a ceremony in Leh, capital of the Ladakh region, to rename the local airport after a renowned Buddhist priest, Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, known as the architect of modern Ladakh.

Mr Singh called the priest a ?great Teacher? and said it was ?only Appropriate? to name the airport after ?this distinguished son of Ladakh and man of God?.

The premier, whose agenda included the inauguration of two power projects in the region, said he hoped modernization of the airport would open ?the gateways of prosperity for this region?.

He said he hoped it would bring more ?tourists, investors, scholars, men of peace and piety to this remote corner?.

On Sunday, Mr Singh was due to make the first visit by an Indian premier to the Siachen Glacie.