PM Modi Nepal Visit: Prime minister Narendra Modi Going to Nepal on the holy occasion of Buddha Jayanti. His visit, of less than five hours on May 16, will water the centuries-old ties between the two countries as well as set the roadmap for the future partnership. Prime Minister Modi will leave for Lumbini from Delhi on the morning of 16 May, but on the way his plane will stop at Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh. This is the place where Lord Buddha left his body. From Kushinagar itself, PM Modi will go to Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha.
On reaching Lumbini, PM Modi will start his tour with a visit to the Maya Devi temple. This temple is the place where Gautam Buddha was born as Siddhartha and this is confirmed by the pillar of Emperor Ashoka installed in 249 AD.
During his last visit to Nepal in November 2014, the Prime Minister had presented a sapling of Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya to this temple. Along with this, it was also announced that he will soon go to Lumbini. However, this resolution of PM Modi is going to be fulfilled after eight years.
After darshan at the Maya Devi temple, PM Modi will also attend the foundation stone-laying program of a Buddhist cultural and wealth center in Lumbini’s monastic zone. The International Buddhist Confederation present in India is building this center. This new center to be built with the help of India will be built in the western part of the Lumbini Monastic Zone. The monastic zone is the area where various countries have built their Buddhist centers on Nepalese soil.
PM Modi, who is going to visit Nepal for the fifth time in his tenure of eight years, will also meet the Nepalese Prime Minister in a span of just one and a half months. Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur had visited India from 1 to 3 April and also visited Varanasi during this period. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, in such a short time travel is also being done from India side. This shows that the relationship between the two countries is progressing rapidly.
In a visit to Nepal of just a few hours, PM Modi will take forward the series of his bilateral talks with Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba in April. The agenda of the talks will include issues like hydropower development, partnership and connectivity.
In his last program of Lumbini Yatra, PM Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Deuba will attend the Buddha Jayanti program organized by the Government of Nepal. Buddhist monks and scholars will participate in the event. PM Modi will also address this meeting.
According to Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra, this visit of the PM will increase the pace of positivity in the relationship. Along with this, it will also give evidence of efforts to increase priority for the neighborhood. The scope of partnership between the two countries is very wide. Whether it is a matter of development cooperation or review of connectivity projects or creating new people-to-people contacts and discussions on all subjects including hydroelectric projects are possible.
Asked about the border matters, Kwatra, who became the Foreign Secretary of the Indian Ambassador to Nepal this month, said that there is an established mechanism between the two countries on this subject. We have always said that this is the right way to talk about these issues in which we can talk openly without politicizing it. Therefore, the issues related to border matters will be discussed only through the established mechanism.
There will definitely be talk on hydroelectric projects. India has invested extensively in Nepal’s hydropower sector. Electricity business between the two countries is also strong. During the visit of Nepalese PM Deuba to India last month, permission was given to import 360 MW of electricity from Nepal. Whether it is a matter of export from Nepal to India or export of energy from India to Nepal or communication of electricity from Nepal to a third country, there is a constant dialogue going on in all these matters. Even if both the PMs meet, obviously this topic will also be discussed.
The most important feature of India-Nepal relations is the shared cultural heritage and civic contacts between the two countries which are centuries old. The Foreign Secretary emphasized that the Prime Minister has been paying special attention in this regard since his visit in 2014.