The Foreign Secretary told ANI that PM Modi had “a short but very substantive visit” to Nepal. He said Buddhism plays a foundational role in common cultural heritage between the two countries.
PM Modi paid an official visit to Lumbini in Nepal on Monday coinciding with the auspicious occasion of Buddha Purnima. As Prime Minister, this was Narendra Modi’s fifth visit to Nepal and first to Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha.
PM Modi and Nepal PM Sher Bahadur Deuba participated in the ‘shilanyas’ ceremony for the construction of the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage at a plot in Lumbini.
“When PM reached the auditorium to speak, there was an atmosphere of festivity, of joy and happiness and Prime Minister said clearly in his address that this visit for him was a spiritual visit,” Kwatra told ANI.
“The central point of his speech was of spirituality, the way spirituality connects the cultural heritage of our two countries, the way it deepens our cultural relations, and the way Buddhism and Mahatma Buddha plays a foundational role as far as our common cultural heritage is concerned,” he added
Kwatra referred to common cultural heritage between the two countries.
“India and Nepal relations are of two peoples, they are not the relations of two countries, this relationship is of two societies, two civilizations, and our heritage is common,” he said.
The Foreign Secretary said India had signed six MoUs during the visit.
“PM Modi and Nepal PM Deuba held extensive discussions on all areas of the bilateral corporation including education, energy, culture, trade, investment, physical infra and soft connectivity. They witnessed exchanges of six MoUs. It was a short but very substantive visit,” Kwatra said.
He said that out of six MoUs, two are between ICCR and Kathmandu University and Tribhuvan University.
“There was an MoU between Lumbini University and the ICCR on setting up Dr BR Ambedkar chair of Buddhist studies,” he added.
Both Prime Ministers held a bilateral meeting, during which they followed up on their discussions held on April 2 in New Delhi. The two sides agreed in principle to establish sister city relations between Lumbini and Kushinagar, that are among the holiest sites of Buddhism and reflect the shared Buddhist heritage between the two countries.