Nepal, India strengthen ties during Modi visit on Buddha’s anniversary

Kathmandu, May 16 (EFE).- Nepal and India strengthened ties with several bilateral agreements, including for constructing a hydroelectric plant, on Monday during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Buddha’s birthplace in the Himalayan country.

“India and Nepal relations are unshakeable like the Himalayas,” Modi said at an event celebrating Buddha’s anniversary in the city of Lumbini.

He also said that India and Nepal’s ever-strengthening friendship will benefit the entire humanity in the emerging global situation.

The place, situated near the Indian border, is one of the holiest in Buddhism, as the spiritual leader is said to have been born there in 623 BC.

Modi divided his brief official visit between official ceremonies honoring Buddha and bilateral meetings with his counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba for strengthening bilateral ties, in the backdrop of India’s discomfort with growing Chinese influence.

During the Indian leader’s fifth visit to the country since 2014, New Delhi and Kathmandu signed six memoranda of understanding, especially centered on the education sector.

The two countries also agreed to jointly construct a new 695MW hydroelectric plant on the Arun river, a tributary of Kosi, which flows from Nepal to India.

The bilateral discussions also focused on other infrastructure projects, such as building several bridges in Nepal, while the two leaders also covered other matters such as cooperation to improve connectivity, fertilizer trade, and the culture and tourism sector.

At an event in Lumbini, Modi called Buddha the incarnation of collective humanity, as he took the humanity towards knowledge.

As per the Buddhist tradition, queen Maya Devi gave birth to Buddha on a tree branch in the garden of Lumbini, halfway between the kingdom of her parents and that of her husband King Sudhodhan.

Modi has sought to improve India’s image in Nepal, which New Delhi has considered its natural area of influence, amid growing Chinese clout in recent years. EFE


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