STORY: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday (May 11) began his Nepal tour with a temple visit as the two neighbouring nations work towards improving ties.
Modi is visiting for the first time since protests for a greater say in government by ethnic Madhesis, in Nepal’s lowland south, led to the closure of the border for months in 2015 and 2016.
Modi, who was accompanied by his Nepalese counterpart Khadga Prasad Oli, offered prayers at a Hindu temple in the border town of Janakpur, which was a hub of the Madhesi protests in which more than 50 people were killed.
The two leaders then flagged off a bus service connecting Janakpur with holy Indian town of Ayodhya.
Modi, while addressing swarms of Nepalese citizens during a civic felicitation programme, said he was happy to see the pace of Nepal’s progress as a nation.
India has an open border with Nepal and tens of thousands of Nepalis work in India. The neighbors share close religious and cultural bonds.