Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a two-day visit to Nepal on Friday assuring the Himalayan country that it will be at the top of India’s Neighbourhood First policy.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the construction of a mega hydropower plant during a visit to Nepal Friday, part of his government’s move to counter Chinese influence in its backyard.
After his stump-speech-like address, Modi moved to Kathmandu for the official leg of his two-day visit. He further stated that Ramayana circuit will boost cultural ties between India and Nepal. He said Nepal’s desire is to create a strong relationship underpinned by mutual trust so that it is not affected by any “occasional or intermittent differences that are natural between neighbours”.
Modi is scheduled to hold one-on-one talks with Oli, during which various India-funded projects in Nepal will be discussed.
Modi, on November 8, 2016, had announced demonetisation of high value currency notes. “Today’s welcome in Nepal shows the affection the people of Nepal have towards the people of India”, Modi said.
Modi added, “We have evaluated the partnership between Nepal and India”. Later, Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and Modi will jointly inaugurate the Ramayan Circuit Bus Route connecting Janakpur (Sita’s birthplace) to Ayodhya (Ram’s birthplace).
Like India, Nepal is a Hindu-majority nation.
This is Mr Modi’s third visit to Nepal as Prime Minister.
Ties deteriorated after protesters on the India-Nepal border blockaded the movement of goods vehicles-slowing or stopping critical fuel and medical supplies-amid suspicions in Nepal that New Delhi was backing the blockade. “If done so Nepal will be able to reap benefits through global trade”, Modi said.
Modi’s first port of call in Janakpur was the Janaki temple where he offered puja in full view of cameras, wearing a “paaga” (Maithil headgear) and a stole with a Mithila painting on it. The two countries have agreed to review the bilateral trade treaty. After praying, he also greeted and interacted with people waiting at the temple premises who presented him with flowers and traditional stoles.
Nepal and India have stood by each other at all hard times, he said, adding that he “always wants” the development of India’s neighbours.
On Saturday morning, Modi will be heading for Muktinath temple in Mustang District followed by prayers at Pashupatinath Temple in the capital.