On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Nepal on the auspicious occasion of Buddha Jayanti and will attend a special groundbreaking ceremony in Lumbini to build a center for Buddhist culture and heritage. According to Foreign Secretary Binoy Mohan Quatra, the project is located in the western monastic region of Lumbini and will be developed and built by the India-based International Buddhist Confederation.
Visiting Nepal at the invitation of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who arrived in New Delhi last month, Prime Minister Modi will also attend a prayer at the Mayadevi Temple.
Where will the Prime Minister’s flight take off from?
From Kushinagar in India to Lumbini in Nepal where Gautama Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana. These are two important destinations in the Buddhist circuit.
Extensive agenda for discussion
To further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and to review ways to deepen the relationship. This is Prime Minister Modi’s fifth visit to Nepal and his first visit to Lumbini.
The talks between the two leaders will focus on expanding and connecting bilateral relations, with a special focus on development partnerships and the entire domain of hydropower, the foreign secretary said in response to media questions.
One of the key areas where deep collaboration can occur is connectivity. Through improved connectivity it will help to connect people, improve trade and economic relations. The Nepalese government has requested India to improve air connectivity through three additional entrances and has also sought an agreement with Border Operations near Gautam Buddha International Airport.
The Financial Express Online reported in April that the two leaders had virtually inaugurated the Kurtha-Jainagar passenger railway. The railway line will be extended to Dhalkebar in Nepal with Indian funding.
According to the Foreign Secretary, hydropower has a very important place in India-Nepal relations. In addition to significant investments in this sector, trade between the two countries has increased in the field of hydropower, including the export of energy from Nepal.
While Prime Minister Deuba was here in April, India allowed Nepal to export about 360 MW of electricity to India. The two countries are engaged in a continuous dialogue on this broad sector and the two leaders will discuss the issue again on Monday.
The two leaders have already signed a joint vision statement on cooperation in power generation in power generation, transmission and trade. And jointly inaugurated the 90 km long 132 KVDC Solu Corridor transmission line and substation constructed under the Line of Credit which has been expanded by the Government of India.
Preliminary finalization of Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project will also be discussed In response to a question, Foreign Secretary Quatra said talks were underway and the DPR of the project was expected to be finalized soon following which things would move forward quickly.
During a visit to India last month, Prime Minister Deuba invited Indian companies to participate in Nepal’s hydropower development projects.
Great progress has also been made in the 900 MW Arun-III hydro-electric project in Nepal.