Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Lumbini in Nepal on May 16 on the occasion of Buddha Purnima at the invitation of his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba. Both the leaders later will also hold bilateral meetings to review the historic ties.
Announcing Modi’s schedule, the Ministry of External Affairs said here on Thursday, “At Lumbini, the Prime Minister will visit the sacred Mayadevi temple to offer prayers. The prime minister will also deliver an address at a Buddha Jayanti event organised by the Lumbini Development Trust under the aegis of the Government of Nepal.”
It is Modi’s fifth visit to the Himalayan nation since 2014.
Separately, the prime minister will participate in the “shilanyas” (foundation stone laying) ceremony of a centre for Buddhist culture and heritage in a plot belonging to the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), New Delhi within the Lumbini Monastic Zone, the ministry said.
It said both the prime ministers will hold a bilateral meeting adding “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 ministry statement also said “it underscores the shared civilisational heritage of the people of both
Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, accompanied by his spouse Arzu Deuba, paid an official visit to India from April one to three. It was his first bilateral visit abroad after assuming his office in July 2021. Besides official engagements in New Delhi, Deuba also visited Varanasi.
Ahead of Deuba’s visit last month, the external affairs ministry had said India and Nepal enjoy age-old and special ties of friendship and cooperation. In recent years, the partnership has witnessed significant growth in all areas of cooperation.
The upcoming visit will provide an opportunity to the two sides to review this wide ranging cooperative partnership and to progress it further for the benefit of the two peoples, it had said.
Nepal shares a border of over 1,850 km with five Indian states – Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Later this month, Modi will travel to Japan to take part in the Quad summit there. Heads of states of US, Japan and Australia will be there on May 23 and 24. The four heads of states had met in person for the first time last year in Washington at the invitation of President Joe Biden.
The Quad grouping is primarily aimed at ensuring a free and rule based Indo-Pacific region. China has repeatedly criticized the Quad and claim it will lead to militarization of the strategic region.