LUMBINI: India’s multi-faceted relations with Nepal got energised with Buddha blessings during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s day-long visit to Nepal, with the two counties reaffirming shared cultural heritage of the two countries.
“India-Nepal relation is as strong and as ancient as the Himalayas,” said Mr Modi in a speech to mark the 2566th Buddha Jayanti in Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, on May 16.
“From Sarnath, Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar in India to Lumbini in Nepal, these holy places symbolize our shared heritage and shared values. We have to develop this heritage together and enrich it further,” said Mr Modi. To celebrate shared heritage, PM Modi and his Nepali counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba laid the foundation stone of India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in Lumbini. It will be constructed by the International Buddhist Confederation of India.
The Centre will host pilgrims and tourists, with world-class facilities including prayer halls, meditation centres, library, exhibition hall, cafeteria, offices and other amenities. It will be the first “Net Zero Emission” building in Nepal.
“This common heritage, common culture, common faith and common love, this is our greatest asset. And, the richer this asset is, the more effectively together we can bring the message of Lord Buddha to the world and give direction to the world,” he said. “In the kind of global conditions that are being created today, the ever-strengthening friendship of India and Nepal and our closeness, will serve the benefit of the entire humanity. And in this, the faith of both our countries towards Lord Buddha, the boundless reverence for him, unites us in one thread and makes us a member of a family.”
“The relationship between India and Nepal is as stable as a mountain, and as old as a mountain. We have to give a new height to our instinctive and natural relationships as much as the Himalayas.”
Calling for modernisation of India-Nepal relations, Mr Modi said: “The relationships that we have lived for thousands of years, from food, music, festivals, and customs to family ties, now also have to be linked to new areas like science, technology, and infrastructure. I am satisfied that India is working shoulder to shoulder with Nepal in this direction.”
“PM Modi’s day-long visit to Lumbini underlined that soft power, along with hydropower, will power India-Nepal ties in days to come,” said Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network and president, Centre for Global India Insights, a think focused on global affairs.
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