Modi meets Deuba in Lumbini, reviews India-Nepal cooperation in power sector, other areas
Kathmandu, May 16, 2022
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepal counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba today reviewed bilateral cooperation in the power sector and expressed satisfaction at the progress achieved in recent months.
The cooperation covers development of generation projects, power transmission infrastructure and power trade.
At bilateral talks held at Lumbini in Nepal, Deuba invited Indian companies to undertake the development of the West Seti hydropower project in Nepal.
Modi assured him of India’s support in the development of Nepal’s hydropower sector and in encouraging interested Indian developers to expeditiously explore new projects in this regard.
Today's talks were a follow-up on the discussions between the two leaders in New Delhi on April 2.
A press release from the Prime Minister's Office said they discussed specific and ideas to further strengthen cooperation in various sectors, including culture, economy, trade, connectivity, energy and development partnership.
The two sides agreed in principle to establish sister-city relations between Lumbini and Kushinagar, that are among the holiest sites of Buddhism and reflects the shared Buddhist heritage between the two countries.
Both Prime Ministers also agreed to further expand educational and cultural exchanges to bring the people of the two countries closer.
Prime Minister Deuba hosted a luncheon in honour of the Indian Prime Minister.
Today's visit was Modi's fifth visit as Prime Minister to Nepal and the first to Lumbini. It coincided with the occasion of Buddha Purnima.
He was warmly welcomed on arrival by Prime Minister Deuba, his spouse Arzu Rana Deuba, and several Ministers.
Both Prime Ministers visited the Mayadevi temple, within which lies the birth place of Lord Buddha. At the temple, the Prime Ministers attended prayers conducted as per Buddhist rituals and made offerings. The Prime Ministers lit lamps and visited the historical Ashoka Pillar, that carries the first epigraphic evidence of Lumbini being the birthplace of Lord Buddha. They also watered the holy Bodhi tree that was brought as a gift by Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Nepal in 2014.
Modi and Deuba participated in the "shilanyas” ceremony for the construction of the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage at a plot in Lumbini belonging to the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) based in New Delhi. The plot was allocated to the IBC by the Lumbini Development Trust in November 2021. After the ceremony, the Prime Ministers also unveiled a model of the Buddhist centre, which is envisaged as a Net-Zero compliant world-class facility that would house prayer halls, meditation centre, library, exhibition hall, cafeteria and other amenities and would be open to Buddhist pilgrims and tourists from around the world.
Both Prime Ministers participated in a special event to mark the 2566th Buddha Jayanti celebrations that was organized by Lumbini Development Trust under the aegis of the Government of Nepal. At the event, Modi addressed a large gathering of monks, officials, dignitaries and those associated with the Buddhist world.
Modi's visit today followed the visit of Deuba to Delhi and Varanasi from April 1-3 this year.
"Today's visit has provided further momentum to the multifaceted partnership between the two countries and advanced cooperation in key areas, particularly in education, culture, energy and people to people exchanges. Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Lumbini also emphasizes the deep and rich civilizational connect between India and Nepal and the contribution of people on both sides to foster and promote it," the release added.