Several bilateral agreements, including making Varanasi and Ayodhya in India and Kathmandu and Janakpur in Nepal respectively sister cities will be signed when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Kathmandu later this month for the 18th SAARC Summit.
A memorandum of understanding to make Kathmandu-Varanasi and Janakpur-Ayodhya sister cities will be signed during Modi’s visit Nov 26-27.
While Kathmandu is the city of Pashupatinath and is also called the city of big and small temples, Varanasi is home to Kashi Vishwanath, one of the most revered Hindu temples, and numerous other temples and ghats.
While Ayodhya in Hindu mythology is the birthplace of Lord Ram, Janakpur in Nepal is believed to be the home of Sita, whom Lord Ram married after stringing a divine bow.
“The reasons behind establishing such ties among the four cities — Kathmandu, Janapkur, Varanasi and Ayodha — are religious and cultural as both sides want to give further impetus to these cities by preserving heritage and sanctity,” Khaganath Adhikari, spokesperson of Nepal’s foreign ministry, told .
The Pashupatinath temple is on the banks of the river Bagmati while Varanasi is on the banks of the Ganga and the two governments have embarked on cleaning up these two holy rivers of the Hindus.
This apart, four other MoUs will be signed between the two countries during Modi’s visit, according to Nepali officials holding talks with the Indian side. A long-due trauma centre built with Indian assistance will be handed over to Nepal at the same time.
Similarly, preparations are also under way to clinch an MoU on bilateral motor vehicle agreement, and finalising the terms and reference (ToR) for the $1-billion line of credit offered by Modi during his Nepal visit in the first week of August.
Besides agreeing on the ToR of the line of credit, officials from both sides are also engaged in finalising the projects that Nepal needed to select under the $1-billion soft loan.
Officials at Nepal’s foreign and finance ministries say the project development agreement between the Investment Board Nepal and the Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam for developing the 900-MW Arun III hydroelectricity project is also likely to be signed during the visit.
Similarly, officials in Kathmandu say that some concrete development would take place on the construction of a Nepal-India petroleum pipeline which was also agreed to during the visit of Modi. The pipeline is being installed on an Indian grant and officials from both sides have constituted a five-member technical team to carry out a detailed study of the project Sunday in Kathmandu.