Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday departed for Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh ahead of his official visit to Lumbini, Nepal at the invitation of his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba.
Prime Minister Modi will be visiting Lumbini on the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha where he will participate in festivities marking Buddha Purnima and also hold a bilateral meeting with Nepal Prime Minister Deuba.
In a departure statement issued by his office on Sunday, Modi was quoted as saying: "I look forward to offering prayers at the Mayadevi Temple on the auspicious occasion of Buddha Jayanti. I am honored to follow in the footsteps of millions of Indians to pay reverence at the sacred site of Lord Buddha's birth.
"I also look forward to meeting Prime Minister Deuba again after our productive discussions during his visit to India last month. We will continue to build on our shared understanding to expand cooperation in multiple areas, including in hydropower, development, and connectivity."
Modi also said, "Apart from visiting the holy Mayadevi Temple, I will be participating in 'Shilanyas' ceremony of the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture & Heritage in the Lumbini Monastic Zone. I will also be attending celebrations to mark the occasion of Buddha Jayanti organized by the government of Nepal."
This is Modi's fifth visit to Nepal since assuming office in 2014, but the first after he was re-elected in 2019. (AA/IANS)