NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated a cross-border bus service linking Nepal’s Janakpur with Ayodhya as part of the Ramayan circuit. In his third visit to Nepal since 2014, Modi sought to widen the religious and cultural connection during his meeting with his Nepalese counterpart KP Sharma Oli.
Modi began his 2-day trip by visiting the Ram Janaki temple, where he performed the ‘Shodashopachara’ prayers with Oli, the first Indian PM to do so. Modi told Oli that he was extremely honoured “to be welcomed the way you have done. This welcome is an honour to all Indian citizens.”
Inaugurating the bus service, the PM said, “Ramayan circuit will boost tourism. This will act as a foundation for strong people-to-people ties between our two countries.” Oli said that the bus service “would increase people to people connectivity”.
Later, attending a civic reception organised by mayor Lal Kishor Sah at the Rangabhumi Maidan Modi said, “Ayodhya is incomplete without Janakidham. Similarly, Nepal is incomplete without India and India is incomplete without Nepal. Our ties are religious, based on deep faith and history and complement each other,” Modi said. He was felicitated with a garland weighing 121kg. Akey to Janakpur city was also handed over to Modi. Janakpur will be added to the Ramayana Circuit and Lumbini will be included in the Buddhist Circuit.
“Our relations do not have any definition but it is based on language. Our ties are ahead of diplomacy, strategy and politics. It is Devniti… Changes in governments do not matter, our relations remain the same,” he said in Maithali. He spoke in Nepali too.