The upcoming visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal will be a significant development, Kathmandu’s envoy Shankar Prasad Sharma said on Wednesday.
Speaking to The Hindu after presenting his credentials to President Ram Nath Kovind, Ambassador Sharma said Nepal had taken up all the bilateral issues during the visit by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to Delhi and Varanasi last month.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lord Buddha’s birth place Lumbini is currently being planned (by the Indian side). It is my aim to take this important bilateral relation to new heights,” Mr. Sharma said.
He had a courtesy meeting with Mr. Kovind that followed the ceremony of presenting of credentials.
“While highlighting the age-old relations, the Ambassador thanked the Government and people of India for the continued support in various sectors, including connectivity, defence, post-earthquake rescue, relief and reconstruction,” the Embassy of Nepal said in a statement after the ceremony.
The formal event is important as it comes four days before the visit of Mr. Modi to Lumbini on the occasion of Buddha Purnima.
India has been focusing on the Buddhist community worldwide as part of its soft power and this year Buddha Purnima would be marked by the presence of Mr. Modi in Lumbini. The focus on Lumbini has been part of the vision of the “Buddhist Circuit” of the Indian government, which has presented India as the land of the Buddha. The “Buddhist Circuit” and India’s soft power regarding Buddhism acquires significance because of a number of reasons, including the dynamic situation in Buddhism-dominated regions in Southeast Asia and Tibet that are part of India’s core strategic concerns.