The day-long visit to Lumbini is Modi’s fifth trip to Nepal since he became prime minister in 2014. Bilateral relations soured after India imposed a 6-month blockade on Nepal and after it put 350 sqk km of Nepal’s territory in Limpiyadhura in the country’s northwestern tip on its official maps.
Modi tweeted in Nepali after arriving in Lumbini. He later posted: ‘Happy to be among the wonderful people of Nepal on the special occasion of Buddha Purnima. Looking forward to the programmes in Lumbini.”’
After bilateral meeting between the two prime ministers, Nepal and India also signed an agreement that included developing the 695MW Arun IV hydroelectric project in eastern Nepal at a cost of Rs80 billion. India’s Sutlej Jala Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) which is also building the Arun-III will jointly develop the bigger project in partnership with Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).
Under the agreement, Nepal will get 152MW for free and the rest will be fed into the Indian grid.
However, a much-expected agreement on opening up new two-way air routes from India and Nepal to facilitate new airports in Pokhara and Bhairawa did not materialise.