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In 1st Visit to Nepal After Boundary Row, PM Modi Invokes 'Shared Heritage' at Buddha's Birthplace

PM Narendra Modi prays at the Maya Devi Temple in Nepal on Buddha Purnima. (Twitter/@narendramodi)

PM Narendra Modi prays at the Maya Devi Temple in Nepal on Buddha Purnima. (Twitter/@narendramodi)

Relations between the two countries were strained after Nepal's previous KP Oli-led government issued a new political map in which it claimed disputed areas in the Kalapani region as its own

In his first visit to Nepal since the 2020 border dispute led to strained ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reached the Himalayan nation for a four-day visit.

Accompanied by his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba, the prime minister offered prayers at the sacred Maya Devi temple 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 in Lumbini, which is the birth place of Gautam Buddha.

PM Modi, who is in Nepal on the invitation of Deuba, is paying a day-long visit to Lumbini on the occasion of Buddha Purnima. “Landed in Nepal. Happy to be among the wonderful people of Nepal on the special occasion of Buddha Purnima. Looking forward to the programmes in Lumbini,” he said on Twitter upon his arrival.

The Prime Ministers lit lamps near the Ashoka Pillar located next to the temple. Then they watered the Bodhi tree sapling from Bodh Gaya gifted by Prime Minister Modi in 2014. Sharing a photograph of the two Prime Ministers at the Maya Devi temple, the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted, “A timeless bond of friendship…”

This is PM Modi’s fifth visit to Nepal since 2014 but the first since he was re-elected in 2019.

Relations between the two countries were strained after Nepal’s previous KP Oli-led government issued a new political map in which it claimed disputed areas in the Kalapani region as its own. The issues were, however, ironed out last month when Deuba visited India and both the prime ministers agreed to resolve the row through the mechanism already in place.

Modi and his entourage arrived in Nepal on a special Indian Air Force helicopter from Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh. Lumbini, located in the Terai plains of southern Nepal, is one of the holiest places of Buddhism, as Lord Buddha was born there.

A bilateral meeting between the two Prime Ministers is also scheduled which will undertake a comprehensive review of recent agreements.

Some MoUs on cooperation in cultural and educational sectors are expected to be exchanged between the two countries after the bilateral meeting, according to officials.

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