A day before his trip to Lumbini, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the ties between India and Nepal are unparalleled and based on the civilisational and people-to-people contacts that form an enduring edifice of a close relationship.
On Monday, Modi is slated to leave for Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, where he will participate in festivisites marking Buddha Purnima and also hold a bilateral meeting with Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.
In a departure statement issued by his office, Modi was quoted as saying: “I look forward to offering prayers at the Mayadevi Temple on the auspicious occasion of Buddha Jayanti. I am honoured to follow in the footsteps of millions of Indians to pay reverence at the sacred site of Lord Buddha’s birth.
“I also look forward to meeting Prime Minister Deuba again after our productive discussions during his visit to India last month. We will continue to build on our shared understanding to expand cooperation in multiple areas, including in hydropower, development and connectivity.
“Apart from visiting the holy Mayadevi Temple, I will be participating in ‘Shilanyas’ ceremony of the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture & Heritage in the Lumbini Monastic Zone. I will also be attending celebrations to mark the occasion of Buddha Jayanti organised by the government of Nepal.”
This is Modi’s fifth visit to Nepal since assuming office in 2014, but the first after he was re-elected in 2019.
In conclusion, Modi said that his “visit is intended to celebrate and further deepen these time-honoured linkages that have been fostered through centuries and recorded in our long history of inter-mingling”.