Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on an official visit to Nepal on 11th and 12th May, 2018. This was PM Modi’s third visit to Nepal and the first high-level visit from India since the formation of the new Government in Nepal this year.
Highlights of PM Modi’s Nepal Visit:
PM Modi held a meeting with Nepal Prime Minister K P Oli, during which both the leaders had extensive discussions to improve bilateral ties.
- During the course of this visit, PM Modi also met Nepal’s former Prime Ministers Prachanda and Sher Bahadur Deuba and called on President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Vice-President Nanda Bahadur Pun.
- Nepal Prime Minister K P Oli has assured that his government would not allow its territory to be used against India. This assurance holds lot of strategic significance as Nepal shares a border of over 1850 km with India touching Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
- PM Modi offered prayers at Nepal’s iconic Muktinath temple that is regarded sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists. PM Modi thereby became the first world leader to offer prayers at this temple. The temple is located at an altitude of 3710 metres at the foot of the Thorong La pass in mountainous Mustang district.
- PM Modi also visited Pashupatinath temple in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, wherein he offered prayers and was later presented a miniature of the Pashupatinath temple by the authorities. It is to be noted that Indian Government is providing assistance in establishing the Nepal-Bharat Maitri Pashupatinath Dharamshala project.
PM Modi, Nepal PM jointly inaugurate direct bus service between Janakpur and Ayodhya
On May 11, 2018, PM Modi Modi and his Nepalese counterpart K P Oli jointly inaugurated a direct bus service between Janakpur (in Dhanusa District of Nepal) and Ayodhya (in Uttar Pradesh).
- Both, Janakpur and Ayodhya are two sacred cities for Hindus.
- The bus was flagged-off by PM Modi after visiting and offering special prayers at the famed 20th century Janaki temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Sita.
- Janakpur is known as the birth place of Sita (the wife of Hindu Lord Rama). Janaki temple was built in memory of Sita in 1910.
- The bus service is a part of Nepal-India Ramayana Circuit launched by both the PMs to further strengthen the close religious and cultural ties between the two countries and peoples.
- The Janakpur-Ayodhya bus will facilitate travel for pilgrims/tourists from Nepal who intend to visit Ramayana Circuit destinations (total 15 destinations including Ayodhya) in India.
- PM Modi also announced 1 billion package to develop Janakpur.
Modi, Oli jointly lay Foundation Stone Of 900-Mw Arun III Hydroelectric Power Plant
On May 11, 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart K P Oli jointly laid the foundation stone of the 900-megawatt Arun III Hydroelectric Power Plant in Tumlingtar area in eastern Nepal.
- Arun-III is the largest capacity project in the history of hydroelectricity.
- It is being executed by Satluj Jala Vidyut Nigam Power Development Company, a subsidiary of Indian government-owned Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd.
- The project will bring huge economic benefits to Nepal viz. USD 1.5 billion foreign direct investment, thousands of employment opportunities, monetary benefits in terms of as royalty, income tax, customs tariff.
- In addition to this, Nepal will also get certain quantum of free energy in the concession period of 25 years.
Discussed trade deficit with PM Modi: Nepal’s Foreign Minister
On May 11, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Foreign Minister of Nepal, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali.
- Discussions at this meeting revolved around India-Nepal trade deficit and low pace of the implementation of previous agreements.
- Gyawali put forth Nepal’s expectation for being linked with various means and boosting connectivity, through waterways, railways or through information technology, as it can prove to be vital for Nepal’s development.
Quick Facts about Nepal:
♦ Capital – Kathmandu
♦ Currency – Nepalese Rupee
♦ Current Prime Minister – K P Oli
♦ Neighbouring Countries – India and China