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After winning hearts, Modi ends historic Nepal visit

After winning hearts, Modi ends historic Nepal visit

Kathmandu: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ended a historic two-day Nepal visit on a positive note, urging political leaders to work together for a new constitution and stressing the need for greater economic and strategic cooperation between the two neighbouring nations that have strong civilizational ties.

The first Indian premier to make a bilateral visit to Nepal in 17 years, Modi won millions of hearts with his speech in Nepal's parliament that was evident Monday as thousands poured out of their homes spontaneously to bid farewell to the visiting leader as he drove to the airport.

"Mission accomplished, PM India heads home," tweeted external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin. "Looks like the whole of Kathmandu (is) out to bid (him) farewell."

President Ram Baran Yadav and political leaders of all hues hailed Modi for speaking his heart out while outlining his vision of India-Nepal relations.

"You have won our hearts with your speech in parliament yesterday," the president told Modi during a 15-minute meeting Monday, echoing an opinion widely reflected in the Nepalese media too.

India and Nepal Monday agreed to "review, adjust and update" their 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship and other bilateral agreements, and not to let "unscrupulous elements" misuse their open border.

A joint statement issued at the end of Modi's visit said Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala would visit India.

The four-page statement said talks between Modi and Koirala and their delegations "were held in an atmosphere of utmost warmth and cordiality and were marked by deep friendship and understanding".

The two prime ministers "expressed satisfaction over the excellent state of Nepal-India relations (and) underlined the need to further explore ways to enhance sub-regional cooperation".

On the political front, Modi asked political parties to work together for a new inclusive constitution that satisfies all sections of Nepal.

He also emphasized the need for greater economic cooperation between the two countries that share a common culture, history and civilization.

"The PM (told) leaders to work for the betterment of the nation, not for their parties," Akbaruddin said shortly before Modi departed in his Indian Air Force plane at the head of a 75-strong delegation.

At the macro level, the visit focused on four Cs: cooperation, connectivity, culture and constitution.

Modi announced a $1 billion soft loan to Nepal for infrastructure and vowed to expedite the finalization of two energy cooperation related pacts -- a Power Trade Agreement and a Project Development Agreement -- within 45 days.

It was decided to construct bridges over Mahakali river to better link farwest Nepal with Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Leaders of the ruling Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist as well as the opposition United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist besides Madhesis all expressed satisfaction after meeting Modi.

"My meeting with Modi was historic," said Maoist supremo Puspa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, once known for his anti-India views. "A new chapter has begun in Nepal-India ties."

Another Maoist leader and former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai echoed the statement, adding Modi had promised to implement soon several India funded projects in Nepal.

Modi promised Indian help for infrastructure development and energy projects.

Earlier Monday, Modi prayed at the famed Pashupatinath temple on a river bank here and gifted it 2,500 kg of sandalwood.

India promised to build a dharamshala at the temple and restore the old monuments in the complex that is visited by millions of Hindus.

India offered assistance to develop Janakpur, Baraha Chhetra and Lumbini, including linking Lumbini -- the birthplace of Lord Buddha -- with the Buddhist circuit of India.

India announced more slots for for Nepalese students and experts to study in Indian institutions.

India and Nepal also agreed to finalize the texts of an extradition treaty and a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) at an early date.

Nepal expressed its desire to resolve all outstanding boundary issues.

India has decided to take up building a petroleum pipeline from Raxaul in Bihar to Kathmandu.

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