Various governments in ancient times used Buddhism for diplomatic purposes.
Tooth Relic tour of Ceylon
and Burma in the 1950s and
Buddhists For World Peace in the 60s and 70s were modern examples of the same
thing. It seems the strategy is continuing.
Here is a bit more on the subjecthttp://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/dispute-exposes-india-china-contest-over-buddhism/2011/11/30/gIQAJ8KeDO_story.html