Modi first foreign PM to visit provincial HQ

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018 | | Politics

May 2, 2018-Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the first foreign head of government/state to visit the capital of a Nepali province after the country become a federal state.

Modi, who arrives in Janakpur on May 11 in his third visit to Nepal after 2014, will worship at the Janaki temple and participate in a civil reception at the Barhabigha ground of the Janakpur Sub-metropolitan City in Province 2.

Modi will fly to the ancient town directly from the nearby Indian city of Patna. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will welcome him in Janakpur, according to Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa.

Thapa visited Janakpur on Tuesday morning with top security officials to take stock of security arrangements and other preparations on the ground.Over 7,000 personnel in a five-layer security will guard Modi in Janakpur. According to officials, Modi’s personal security, officials from Nepal Army, Armed Police Force, Nepal Police and intelligence sleuths will form the security circles. The Indian PM will board an Indian Air Force plane from New Delhi to Patna from where his team will fly to Janakpur on three helicopters.

As per the itinerary, Modi will worship at the Janaki Temple and is scheduled to fly to Mustang the same day. He will reach Kathmandu later in the day.“His [Modi’s] visit this time is for a religious purpose, not political. This will take the centuries-old social and religious relations between Nepal and India to a new high,” said Minister Thapa.Modi will spend half-an-hour at the Ram Janaki temple for special puja, said Mahantha of the temple, Ram Roshan Das. Modi will then return to the Rangabhumi ground where he will accorded civil reception on behalf of the people of Janakpur.

In his briefing to Home Minister Thapa, Province 2 Chief Minister Lalbabu Raut said all the preparations are going on smoothly. Thapa also inspected the temple and the Barhabigha Rangabhumi area.

Thapa said the federal government would make all the security arrangements for Modi in coordination with the provincial government. An advance Indian security team has arrived in Janakpur to make arrangements in oordination with Nepali personnel.

Modi will use the land route from Rangabhumi to the temple 500 meters away. But it is not sure if he will walk or take a ride, officials said.Several bilateral agreements and pacts are likely to be signed during the two-day state visit of the Indian PM. Officials privy to negotiations with the Indian side confirm that both sides are holding intensive talks to finalise the deal to be sealed during the visit.

Even as the visit is said to be for building trust and resetting bilateral ties, Modi wants to portray himself as a “neighborhood friendly” PM in view of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He will be visiting Bhutan and Bangladesh shortly after wrapping up his Nepal trip.

Three pacts on extension of the Indian railway, inland waterway navigation and agriculture cooperation were signed during the state visit of Prime Minister Oli to India last month. Officials from both sides are looking for more concrete forms of the agreements.

A detailed survey of railway from the Indian border to Kathmandu will be announced during the visit, said the official. A similar kind of study involving route and other specifics is expected on water navigation for Nepal’s access to the sea via India. A concrete agreement on the agricultural sector is also on cards, said officials.

Modi will announce on May 11 that Janakpur will be linked with the Ramayan Circuit, which connects as many as 15 pilgrimage sites in India including four in Uttar Pradesh. Prime ministers Oli and Modi will jointly inaugurate the circuit at the Janaki temple after Modi completes his special worship there, according to sources.

“We expect that Modi will announce some special package for the development of Janakpur,” sources said. Other proposals are construction of Janak Durbar on the temple premises and management of ponds in the vicinity.