Temple visits, political meetings to mark Modi's Nepal visit

Erika Holt
May 12, 2018

Friday's Mudda discussed the bilateral relations between India and Nepal as the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is off for his two-day visit to Nepal. The two countries seek to reset India-Nepal ties, PM Modi will aim at pushing for development projects between both the nations.

During his two-day visit to Nepal, Prime Minister Modi and his Nepalese counterpart will lay the foundation stone of Arun III hydroelectricity project in Sankhuwasabha district of eastern Nepal, undertaken by India's Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam, through video conferencing. "Without Nepal, our Ram is incomplete", Modi said while inaugurating the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, emphasising the mythological connect between the two countries.

Upon his arrival, Modi was welcomed by Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli at the temple complex.

After visiting the Janakpur temple on Friday morning, Modi will attend a civic reception hosted by the Mayor of Janakpur at the Barabigha ground. Many in Nepal saw India's hand in the protests although India denied that.

Modi's latest visit to Nepal takes place just after a month since Oli came to India and a few weeks after Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping at an informal set-up in Wuhan in China. "All his acts are aimed at polarising the votes of the Hindu community, and this will also help Modi consolidate his vote bank in Varanasi", he added.

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"Today's welcome in Nepal shows the affection the people of Nepal have towards the people of India", Modi told the gathering.

During the trip, the two countries are expected to strike agreements on agricultural development and extending a railway line from India's border to Katmandu. "Along with employment opportunities, this project will create economic and commercial opportunities in Nepal", Modi said in Kathmandu following the inauguration.

The Prime Minister inspected the parade. Analysts say the strong religious overtones are meant to send a message to his Hindu nationalist base at home where Modi is fighting a key state election in Karnataka state. The provincial government has announced a public holiday to coincide with his visit.

Former Indian Presidents Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, Gyani Zail Singh and Pranab Mukherjee had performed such prayers during their visits to Nepal, temple's priest Ramatpeshwar Das Vaishnav said.

In the afternoon, the Prime Minister will fly to the capital, Kathmandu, where he will be given a guard of honour by the Nepal Army.

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