File photo of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
On the eve of his two-day visit to Nepal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India would remain a steadfast partner of the Himalayan nation in its quest for growth and development.
The prime minister exuded confidence that his visit will further cement people-centric partnership with Nepal on the basis of mutual benefit, goodwill and understanding.
Modi's visit to Nepal is seen as an attempt by both the countries to bring back normalcy in ties after a spell of uneasiness as it comes little over a month after his Nepalese counterpart K P Sharma Oli came to India.
Describing his two-day trip to Nepal as a reflection of his government's commitment to "neighbourhood first" policy, Modi said the Himalayan nation has entered a new era and India would continue to support it.
"As Nepal enters a new era of consolidating gains of democracy and achieving rapid economic growth and development, India will continue to remain a steadfast partner of government of Nepal to implement its vision of samriddha Nepal, sukhi Nepali' (prosperous Nepal, happy Nepal)," Modi said in a statement.
Oli's visit was seen as an attempt to repair Nepal's ties with New Delhi. In 2016, the Nepalese leader had publicly accused India of interfering in his country's internal matters and trying to topple his government.
"Prime Minister Oli and I will have the opportunity to take forward our recent wide-ranging discussions in New Delhi on issues of mutual interest, and to advance our cooperative partnership across diverse sectors," Modi said.
He said his visit "reflects the high priority, India, and personally I, attach to our age-old, close and friendly ties with Nepal".
"These high-level and regular interactions reflect my government's commitment to the 'neighbourhood first' policy, in consonance with the motto of ?sabka saath, sabka vikas'," he said.
Modi said the two countries have completed several bilateral connectivity and development projects in the last few years, and initiated transformational initiatives for the benefit of their people.
In addition to Kathmandu, the prime minister said he was also looking forward to visiting Janakpur and Muktinath. Both these places attract a large number of pilgrims every year.
"They are living testimony to the ancient and strong cultural and religious ties between the peoples of India and Nepal," he said.
Modi said he was also looking forward to meeting political leaders and friends in Nepal.
"I am confident that my visit will further cement our people-centric partnership with Nepal on the basis of mutual benefit, goodwill and understanding," he noted.
The prime minister's first stop will be historic city of Janakpur where he will offer prayers at the Janaki temple. He will also be given a civic reception at Janakpur.
In the afternoon, Modi will travel to Kathmandu where he will meet Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun. In the evening, he will hold delegation-level talks with Oli, External Affairs MInistry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
The prime ministers are likely to sign a number of pacts and inaugurate the Rs 6000-crore Arun 3 project which is expected to generate around 900 MW of power.
Modi will also attend a banquet hosted by Oli tomorrow.
On Saturday, he will visit Muktinath. He will come back to Kathmandu in the afternoon and offer prayers at Pashupathi Nath temple, Kumar said.
Later, Modi will meet the leaders of various political parties which will be followed by a civic reception to be hosted by the mayor of Kathmandu.