Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba will carry out a comprehensive review of the recent agreements, as the two meet in Lumbini in the neighbouring country on the occasion of Buddha Purnima on Monday, said sources.
On the agenda of the day-long visit are memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in sectors related to culture and education, sources added.
During his trip to India last month, Deuba had visited New Delhi and Varanasi, where he offered prayers at Kashi Vishwanath and Kal Bhairav temples and also laid the foundation of a shelter home for widows at the Nepali Pashupati Nath temple at Lalitaghat, Varanasi.
Modi’s upcoming visit will be a follow-up to it.
Modi will have a comprehensive agenda to expand cooperation in multiple areas, including hydropower and connectivity, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said on Friday. Asked whether the boundary dispute between the two sides will figure in the talks, he said that India has always maintained that the existing bilateral mechanisms are the best way forward to deliberate on the issues, adding they should be discussed in a “responsible manner” without “politicisation”.
The foreign secretary said Modi and Deuba will build on their productive conversation in Delhi last month. He said the visit will “reaffirm” India’s commitment to ties with Nepal and demonstrate the priority that New Delhi attaches to the neighbourhood.
MODI’s FIFTH VISIT TO NEPAL
It will be Modi’s fifth visit to Nepal since 2014. “At Lumbini, the Prime Minister will visit the Mayadevi temple to offer prayers. The PM will also deliver an address at a Buddha Jayanti event organised by the Lumbini Development Trust under the aegis of the Government of Nepal,” the Ministry of External Affairs said.
Separately, the prime minister will participate in the “shilanyas” (foundation stone laying) ceremony of a centre for Buddhist culture and heritage on a plot belonging to the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), New Delhi, within the Lumbini Monastic Zone, it said.
“Prime Minister Modi’s visit continues the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between India and Nepal in furtherance of our Neighbourhood First policy,” the MEA said. “It underscores the shared civilisational heritage of the people of both countries,” it said in a statement.
Ties between the two countries came under severe strain after Kathmandu published a new political map in 2020 that showed three Indian territories – Limpiyadhura, Kalapani, and Lipulekh – as part of Nepal. India reacted sharply, calling it a “unilateral act” and cautioned Kathmandu that such “artificial enlargement” of territorial claims will not be acceptable.
Nepal shares a border of over 1,850 km with five Indian states — Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
With agency inputs