Lumbini
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday offered prayers at the sacred Maya Devi temple here in Nepal on the occasion of Buddha Purnima.

He was accompanied by his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba during his visit to the historic temple, the birth place of Gautam Buddha.

Beginning the Nepal visit with prayers at the sacred Maya Devi Temple, Lumbini, the Office of the Prime Minister of India tweeted.

On the auspicious occasion of Buddha Purnima, both Prime Ministers offered pooja and prayers at the sacred Mayadevi temple in Lumbini, the birth place of Gautam Buddha, Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Twitter.

Modi, who is in the Himalayan nation at the invitation of Deuba, is paying a day-long visit to Lumbini on the occasion of Buddha Purnima.

The visiting Prime Minister will also participate in the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a centre for Buddhist Culture and heritage within the Lumbini Monastic Zone.

Prime Minister Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Deuba will also hold a bilateral meeting in Lumbini.

“During the meeting, they will exchange views on Nepal-India cooperation and matters of mutual interests,” according to a statement issued by Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In a statement on Sunday, Modi said he was looking forward to meeting Nepalese Prime Minister Deuba again after their “productive” discussions during his visit to India last month.

Both sides will continue to build on the shared understanding to expand cooperation in multiple areas, including in hydropower, development and connectivity, he said.

“My visit is intended to celebrate and further deepen these time-honoured linkages that have been fostered through centuries and recorded in our long history of intermingling,” Modi said in his departure statement on Sunday.

On Friday, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said Prime Minister Modi’s talks with his Nepalese counterpart Deuba at Lumbini in Nepal on May 16 will have a comprehensive agenda to further expand cooperation in multiple areas including hydropower and connectivity.

According to Indian Embassy sources, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary Kwatra, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other senior officials will be in the Prime Minister’s entourage.

Deuba was in Delhi last month in his first bilateral visit abroad after becoming prime minister for the fifth time in July 2021.

During the visit, which was aimed at injecting fresh momentum into bilateral ties, Deuba held talks with Modi on a number of key issues, including the boundary issue.

Nepal is important for India in the context of its overall strategic interests in the region, and the leaders of the two countries have often noted the age-old “Roti-Beti” relationship.

The landlocked Himalayan nation shares a border of over 1,850 kms with five Indian states – Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Nepal relies heavily on India for the transportation of goods and services.

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