New Delhi, May 16
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his day-long visit to Nepal on Monday, said India and the Himalayan nation’s ever-strengthening friendship and their closeness would benefit the entire humanity in the emerging global situation. He likened the ties between the two neighbours as “unshakeable like the Himalayas”.
Modi visited Nepal at the invitation of PM Sher Bahadur Deuba on the occasion of Buddha Purnima. He began his day at Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, by visiting Mayadevi Temple along with Deuba and paying his respects at the Marker Stone, which “pinpoints” the exact birth spot of Buddha.
Addressing the International Buddhist Conference, PM Modi said, “The common heritage, culture, faith and love are our greatest assets. And, the richer this capital is, the more effectively we can bring the message of Lord Buddha to the world.”
He said both countries would work towards solving global problems with Buddha’s ideologies. The PM also touched on the Hindu culture that “binds” India and Nepal. “Our Ram is also incomplete without Nepal. I know that today when a grand temple of Lord Shri Ram is being built in India, the people of Nepal are equally happy,” he said.
The Prime Minister also participated in the stone-laying ceremony for the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in Lumbini Monastic Zone.
He later held bilateral talks with Deuba after which they signed four MoUs and two agreements. Three of the MoUs were between the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Nepalese universities and the fourth between IIT Madras and Kathmandu University. There was also a university-level letter of agreement. An agreement between SJVN Ltd and Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) for Development and implementation of Arun 4 Project was also inked.
Six pacts inked
- Indian Council of Cultural Relations and Lumbini Buddhist University on Dr Ambedkar Chair; other varsities on ICCR Chair of Indian Studies
- Kathmandu University and IIT-Madras for joint degree programme at master’s level
- Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam and Nepal Electricity Authority for developing Arun-4 Project
China-built airport at Lumbini
- After PM Modi left, Deuba opened a China-built airport at Lumbini.
- $76 mn project funded by ADB and OPEC Fund for Int’l Development.
- Deuba terms it a historic day in aviation and tourism sectors.