India is ready to be the 'Sherpa' to help Nepal scale the mountain of success, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday, hailing the Himalayan nation's successful journey from bullets to ballots.
Addressing a civic reception programme to honour him in Kathmandu, Modi stressed on the special relation shared by the two neighbours and admired Nepal's spirit of resilience and commitment towards democracy.
"Nepal has covered a long journey from Yuddh to Buddh (War to Peace). You have left the bullet to opt the ballot way...But this not the destination. You have to go a long way," Modi told the gathering.
"You have reached the base camp of the Mt Everest and the main climb is yet to be done. As the Sherpas help mountaineers to reach the top of the Everest, India is ready to help Nepal like a Sherpa to achieve development," he said.
Modi said Nepal must identify its needs and priorities to deliver results. "India will stand shoulder-to-shoulder to help Nepal in its development journey. Your success is our success and your joy is our joy."
He said 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' is as much about global well being as it's about India's growth.
"India has always worked for global good. India has taken the lead in mitigating the menace of climate change. The International Solar Alliance has brought together nations from across the world," he said.
Modi congratulated Nepalese people for their combined strengths to rebuild the country after the devastating earthquake of 2015. He also congratulated them for the Constitution that reshaped the country's political history by embracing federal system.
"There is an atmosphere of hope and optimism in Nepal," Modi said, adding that India would always become partner to Nepal's progress.
As India and Nepal share the ancient culture and religion of the world, people from all over the world come to these two countries in search for peace, he pointed out.
Modi said he is always attracted by artistic city of Kathmandu, which he described as 'a jewel in the lap of the Himalayas.'
All three cities of the valley - Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur - are the centre of craftmanship, art and culture, he said.
Describing Kathmandu as a mixture of the ancient and the modern, Modi said the city showcases the culture of Nepal.
"There is something unique about the beauty of Kathmandu. It's a special city. It has an important place in the history of the world," he said.
"Nepal is a country of diversity and Kathmandu is a world in its own," Modi said. "The diversity gives fresh air to any outsider."
He also said that the work has begun on the detailed project report for linking Kathmandu to India via rail network.
Modi expressed his desire to travel to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha in his future visit.
"During my previous visits I prayed at Pashupatinath. This time, in addition to Pashupatinath, I went to Janakpur and Muktinath. These places illustrate close ties between our nations," he said.
He repeated 'Nepal Bhaarat Maitri Amar Rahos (Long live Nepal-India Friendship)' thrice at the end of his speech.
Earlier, Kathmandu Mayor Bidya Sundar Shakya presented symbolic key of the city to Modi, which symbolises that the door to Kathmandu would always remain open to him.
Modi was also presented with various memoir tokens including a 55-kg Lord Buddha statue.
Delivering the welcome speech at the function, Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said the relations between Nepal and India will continue to deepen and widen in the coming days.
Would not allow our territory to be used against India: Nepal PM
Nepal is sensitive to India's interests and would not allow its territory to be used against India, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has assured his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
Briefing reporters at the end of Prime Minister Modi's two-day visit to Nepal, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale today said it was a "significant statement" from Prime Minister Oli and India was "satisfied" with discussions.
"Oli reiterated that Nepal would be sensitive to India's interests and its territory would not be used against India," Gokhale said.
Nepal shares a border of over 1,850 kms in the east, south and west with five Indian states – Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
There has been a long tradition of free movement of people across the borders sharing family ties and culture. Travellers from both sides do not need visas.
During a joint press meet yesterday after a one-on-one meeting with Oli, Modi had said the open borders between India and Nepal plays an important role in the strong bilateral ties.
"We will not allow its misuse by anti-social elements," Modi said after the marathon delegation-level talks during which the two sides had extensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship.
"We have agreed to further strengthen our joint efforts on defense and security to control cross-border crimes that have been taking place by misusing our open-borders that are quite important for people on both the sides," he said.
Indo-Nepal border is open, porous and thickly populated. The movement of people across the border is governed by Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, 1950, which provides for free movement of citizens of both the countries across the border.
During her meeting with Prime Minister Modi, Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari said high-level visits strengthen people-to-people contact.
Gokhale said Nepali leaders who called on Prime Minister Modi expressed confidence that his visit to cultural places like Janakpur and Muktinath would enhance tourism.
He also said that the two sides have agreed to an informal timeline to discuss all matters by September this year.
The two leaders also discussed implementation of various India assisted projects in Nepal and decided to bridge the implementation gap in some of the projects, the foreign secretary said.
"Two visits in two months of two state leaders sets our bilateral relationship on a very positive and forward looking path," Gokhale said.
In response to a question, Gokhale said there was no discussion on the issue of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation or SAARC. Nepal is the current chair of the SAARC.
Last month, Oli said that he had spoken to both his Indian and Pakistani counterparts to resume the stalled SAARC process by sorting out their differences.
The 19th SAARC Summit was to be held in Islamabad in 2016 but after a major terror attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18 that year, India expressed its inability to participate in the summit due to "prevailing circumstances" and stepped up diplomatic pressure on Pakistan. The last SAARC Summit in 2014 was held in Kathmandu.