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    PM Modi says India-Nepal relations unshakeable like Himalayas; ever-strengthening friendship to benefit entire humanity in emerging global situation

    PM Modi says India-Nepal relations unshakeable like Himalayas; ever-strengthening friendship to benefit entire humanity in emerging global situation

    PM Modi says India-Nepal relations unshakeable like Himalayas; ever-strengthening friendship to benefit entire humanity in emerging global situation
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    By PTI  IST (Updated)

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    Prime Minister Modi, who attended the 2566th Buddha Jayanti Celebration at International Convention Center and Meditation Hall at Lumbini, said that India and Nepal relations are unshakeable like the Himalayas and added that both the countries will work towards solving global problems with Buddha's ideologies.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held bilateral talks with his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba in Lumbini - the birthplace of Gautam Buddha - during which they discussed ways to strengthen ongoing cooperation and develop new areas in the multifaceted bilateral partnership.
    Modi, who is in the Himalayan nation at the invitation of Deuba on a day-long visit to Lumbini on the occasion of Buddha Purnima, met Deuba after offering prayers at the sacred Maya Devi temple here.
    "PM @narendramodi holds bilateral talks with PM @SherBDeuba in Lumbini. Opportunity to strengthen ongoing cooperation and develop new areas in our multifaceted partnership," Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.
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    Addressing the International Buddhist Conference, Modi said India and Nepal's ever-strengthening friendship and their closeness will benefit the entire humanity in the emerging global situation as he likened the ties between the two neighbours as unshakeable like the Himalayas.
    "India and Nepal's ever-strengthening friendship and our closeness will benefit the entire humanity in the kind of global conditions that are emerging," Modi said in his 20-minute special address.
    Prime Minister Modi, who attended the 2566th Buddha Jayanti Celebration at International Convention Center and Meditation Hall at Lumbini, was accompanied by his Nepalese counterpart Deuba and his spouse Dr. Arzu Rana Deuba. Several Nepalese ministers were among the other dignitaries present.
    Modi said that India and Nepal relations are unshakeable like the Himalayas and added that both the countries will work towards solving global problems with Buddha's ideologies. "Buddha is the embodiment of the collective understanding of humanity," Modi told the gathering of some 2,500 people that included monks, Buddhist scholars and international participants in Lumbini.
    Lumbini, located in the Terai plains of southern Nepal, is one of the holiest places of Buddhism, as Lord Buddha was born there. Modi said the energy of the place where Lord Buddha was born, gives him a different feeling. "I was happy to see that the Mahabodhi sapling I had gifted in 2014 for this place, is now growing into a tree," he added.
    "From Sarnath, Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar in India to Lumbini in Nepal, this holy place is a symbol of our common heritage and shared values. We have to develop this heritage together and enrich it further," Modi said.
    He said the construction of the Lumbini Museum in Nepal is also an example of joint cooperation between the two countries. He said it was decided to establish Dr Ambedkar Chair for Buddhist Studies in Lumbini Buddhist University. Modi said the place where he was born, Vadnagar in Gujarat, was a great center for Buddhist learning centuries ago. "Even today ancient relics are coming out there, and the conservation work for them is ongoing," he added.
    "In Janakpur, I had said that Our Ram is also incomplete without Nepal. I know that today when a grand temple of Lord Shri Ram is being built in India, the people of Nepal are equally happy," Modi said.
    On his part, Nepalese Prime Minister Deuba described India as a "close neighbour and a trusted friend." Deuba said he had a "fruitful discussion" with Prime Minister Modi earlier and he was looking forward for developing Buddha Circuit involving Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar in India.
    Ahead of his visit, Modi had said that his visit to Nepal is intended to further deepen the "time-honoured" linkages between the two countries, adding both sides will continue to build on the shared understanding to expand ties in multiple areas, including hydropower and connectivity.
    "Our ties with Nepal are unparalleled. The civilisational and people-to-people contacts between India and Nepal form the enduring edifice of our close relationship," Modi had said in his departure statement.
    Modi had said that he was looking forward to meeting Deuba after their "productive" discussions during the latter's visit to India last month.
    It is the prime minister's fifth visit to Nepal since 2014. Modi and his entourage arrived here on a special Indian Air Force helicopter from Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh. Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra had said on Friday that Modi's talks with Deuba will have a comprehensive agenda to further expand cooperation.
    Land-locked Nepal relies heavily on India for the transportation of goods and services. Nepal's access to the sea is through India, and it imports a predominant proportion of its requirements from and through India.
    The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 forms the bedrock of the special relations between the two countries.
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