Ambassador of Indonesia to Pakistan, Adam Mulawarman Tugio on Tuesday said the cultural and religious links between Indonesia and Pakistan play an important role in the economic integration of both countries. Indonesia and Pakistan have been linked for centuries by a historical cultural, religious and shared cultural heritage, which is deeply rooted in history, he said. The Indonesian embassy in Islamabad is organizing a five days cultural exhibition starting from July 20th of this month to strengthen Religio-cultural and civilizational relations between Pakistan and Indonesia, the Ambassador of Indonesia told APP here. The Ambassador said the cultural conference will be held under the auspices of the Indonesian Embassy Islamabad and Lok Virsa on the theme of “A Confluence of Civilization Between Indonesia and Pakistan” he said that this five-day cultural exhibition will be held at Shakarparian,Lok Virsa Islamabad and will continue from July 20-24th. The Ambassador of Indonesia said that the purpose of this cultural exhibition is to bring Pakistan and Indonesia closer culturally and to introduce the new generation to their heritage. He said that Pakistan and Indonesia are connected in historical cultural, religious civilizational ties, which have deep roots in history. Ambassador Adam said that Islam came to Indonesia through the efforts of South Asian spice traders who have been coming to Indonesia for the purpose of trade for hundreds of years. He said that Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country like Pakistan and there are wide opportunities for cultural and commercial integration in both countries. He said that the need for interfaith diplomacy in both countries is very important through which many goals of improving mutual relations can be achieved. The Ambassador said that Indonesia always values its relationship with Pakistan and both countries have deep economic and trade relations. He said that there is an annual trade of $4b between the two countries, which needs to be further increased. Meanwhile, the Ambassador of Indonesia said that Pakistan and Indonesia have vast opportunities for the promotion of education. Indonesia gave the most scholarships to Pakistani students this year. It is pertinent to mention that the exhibition intends to feature the fusion of Indonesia-Pakistan’s cultural history and artworks through a selected collection of photographs and videos, which will shed light on the inter-regional connectivity and cross-cultural influence during the course of history of respective countries. The Exhibition aims to offer fresh perspectives into historical connections, religious backgrounds, and the confluence of civilization of both countries from past to present. The Exhibition will highlight the religious-cultural influence and similarities between the two countries during their journey of civilization through the display of art works by focussing on the spread of Buddhism in Indonesia. Buddhism has a long history in Indonesia. A Chinese traveller named Fa Hsien reported in 5th century AD that the arrival of Buddhism in the archipelago commenced with commercial activities from the early 1st Century along the Maritime Silk Road. The roots of Buddhist influence in East Asia are also often linked with the ancient territories of Buddhist rule in ancient Gandhara, which was a region in present-day Northwest Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Buddhist heritage is scattered across Pakistan such as the monastery in Takhti-Bahi-KPK, the Dharmarajika Stupa in Taxila and Amluk Dara Stupa in Swat. It is believed that the Indian Sub-continent has its influence on the spread of Buddhism in Indonesia. The existence of many Buddhist monuments, stupas and temples constructed in Sumatera, Java, Kalimantan, including the marvellous Borobudur Temple, attested to the spread of Buddhism and Hinduism in Indonesia. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. Despite being located far from the Middle East, around 86pc of Indonesian population identified as Muslim, posing the question how Islam spreads in Indonesia. Since the 13th century, Islam has expanded gradually in Indonesia through mercantile activity by Arab Muslim traders, acceptance by local kings, and the impact of Sufism from Persia and South Asia. Again, the impact of Indian sub-continent on the spread of Islam in Indonesia is quite profound. The arrival of Islam in Indonesia is attributed to Gujarati and Indian spice traders in the 13th century. Another theory holds that the 15th century Muslim Chinese Admiral Cheng Ho was also instrumental in spreading Islam on the Indonesian island of Java. The spread of Islam in ancient Indonesia reached the peak in the 15th century, attested by the emergence of kingdoms or sultanates ruled by local Muslim leaders, spanning from the western most Aceh (Samudera Pasai Sultanate) to the eastern part of Ternate and Tidore in Moluccas, and from the northern most of Kalimantan to southern most of Java. Ancient Civilization Similar to Pakistan, Indonesia has also a huge impact on the study of palaeontology. The island of Java has produced some of the most diverse vertebrates and fossils in numerous discoveries. And in Flores archaeological evidence of prehistoric life has been discovered.