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PM wins the hearts and minds: Modi starts speech in Nepali to Himalayan crowds

Author: Gaurav C. Sawant
Publication: Dailymail.co.uk
Date: August 3, 2014
URL: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2715008/PM-wins-hearts-minds-Modi-starts-speech-Nepali-Himalayan-crowds.html

MA Nepal Aauna Payeko Ma Atyanta Harshit Chu" (I am extremely happy about coming to Nepal). For a moment there was pin drop silence in the 601-member Constituent Assembly in Kathmandu.

Seconds later, a thunderous applause resounded throughout the Samvidhan Sabha. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took Nepal by storm.

 His 45-minute address on Sunday to the Nepalese lawmakers was a bigger hit than the 'HIT' (development of highways, IT and transmission lines) formula he suggested to take Nepal on a higher trajectory of growth.

Modi began by congratulating the Nepalese lawmakers about the historic role they were about to play - framing a Constitution that would be Sarvjan Hitay (beneficial for all).

"You have abandoned the path of Yuddha (war) and followed the path of Buddha,'' he said.

 The PM spoke of traditional and civilisational ties between India and Nepal.

"Our ties are as old as the Himalayas and Ganga,'' he said.

Instant connect

Referring to the strong Indo-Nepal ties, Modi struck an instant chord when he mentioned that India had never won a war without the brave Gorkhas shedding their blood.

He recalled late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw's quote: "If anyone tells you he is never afraid, he is a liar or he is a Gorkha."

 India's intention was not to interfere in what the people of Nepal wanted but it was New Delhi's responsibility to help them achieve their aim, Modi said.

"Our only wish is that Nepal's progress reaches as high as the Himalayas. Being neighbours and looking at our experience with democracy, we feel happy at the direction Nepal is taking,'' he said.

Modi promised an additional one billion dollars soft line of credit to Nepal and hoped that the two neighbours move forward together on the path of development that would be mutually beneficial.

His vision

Giving a glimpse of his vision for the South Asian region, Modi said he hoped SAARC nations would move forward to combat poverty and that India will launch a SAARC satellite to benefit all SAARC partners in the field of healthcare and agriculture.

Former Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' told Mail Today that he was impressed after hearing Modi.

 "I am very encouraged by what he said. I want to meet him and find out how he intends to implement it (his plans) on ground. This is the right signal to send to the people of Nepal,'' he said.

Prachanda is scheduled to meet Modi on a one-on-one session after the Prime Minister's visit to the renowned Pashupati Nath temple on Monday.

 "Modi took Nepal by storm. He has vision, not just for India but also for Nepal and this entire region. His vision will take Nepal on the path of development," another former Prime Minister of Nepal, Madhav Kumar Nepal said.

Simple veg meal for the PM

 PM Narendra Modi on Sunday had simple vegetarian meal prepared by an Indian chef for lunch after his arrival in Kathmandu on a two-day official visit.

"He (Modi) likes to have simple vegetarian foods like nan roti, dal and vegetables," a chef said.

His dishes were specially prepared under the guidance of head chef Nanda Kumar Gopi, who hails from India.

"For breakfast, he prefers to have masala tea, and likes to take sweet lime juice," the chef said.

All the fruits and vegetables are locally available here. Modi later dined with his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala, who hosted a dinner in his honour at a five-star hotel here.

A family reunion by Modi

It seemed to be a scene straight out of a Bollywood movie, but the only difference was that this was really a tale of lost and found. It was an emotional reunion of 26-year-old Jeet Bahadur, a Nepalese youth, with his family after about 16 years of separation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a key role in this reunion. Bahadur had got lost in India and Modi found him in Ahmedabad.

Since then, he played the role of a guardian to him, looking after him and ensuring his education and well-being.

He also made the special effort of ensuring that Bahadur's family is located in Nepal and he is reunited with them.

 Soon after arriving in the Nepal capital for a two-day visit, Modi handed over Bahadur to his mother Khagisara and brother Dasharath Sarumagar and younger sister.

Dasharath's wife and children were also present for the emotional reunion.

"How happy are you now? You should be happy after seeing your lost son after so many years," Modi asked Bahadur's mother during the reunion.

The grateful mother expressed thanks to Modi for looking after her son. The poor family, which lives in a slum colony of Nawaalparas district of Nepal, had concluded that Jeet Bahadur had got lost for ever after Dasharath failed to locate him about 16 years ago.

"He (Modi) looked after me like his younger brother ever since I came in contact with him at the age of about 8-10 years. I don't think even my mother would have done so much for me," said Jeet Bahadur.

PM gives autograph to 10-year-old

PM Narendra Modi on Sunday gave an autograph to a 10-year-old Indian girl in Kathmandu, who is seeking to set a new world record for the maximum number of autographs from world famous personalities.

Manashi Sharma, a fifth grader at Kendriya Vidyalaya, got the autograph from Modi who wrote: "Serve humanity when you grow up, little girl; because this is the best work, service is religion."

"I want to set a new world record as a person taking the maximum number of autographs from world famous personalities," Manashi was quoted as saying.

She already has autographs of President Pranab Mukherjee, cricketer M.S. Dhoni, filmstars Vinod Khanna, Govinda and rock star Bryan Adams.

PM gets rousing welcome in Nepal

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday to a rousing welcome with his counterpart in a special gesture receiving him at the airport.

Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to pay a bilateral visit to Nepal in 17 years, was received at the Tribhuvan International Airport here by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala who deviated from protocol for the purpose.

Deputy Prime Ministers Bam Dev Gautam and Prakash Man Singh were also present at the airport. A colourful ceremonial guard of honour was presented to welcome Prime Minister Modi at the airport with the anthems of India and Nepal being played.

Modi was also offered a 19-gun salute by the Nepal army. There was tight security in and around the airport.

The route from the airport to the hotel, a drive of about 10 minutes, saw an impromptu line-up of the local people who had turned out in large numbers, waving flags and clicking photographs with cameras as well as mobile phones.

 Modi and his Nepal counterpart discussed various issues including Nepal's peace process and constitution-drafting process.

 They also discussed various facets of mutual relations and issues of common interest. After the talks, Modi and Koirala witnessed the signing of three agreements.

 Under the first agreement, India will provide a grant assistance worth 69million Nepali rupees to supply iodated salt to curb goitre and other diseases related with iodine deficiency.

The second agreement was regarding the amendment of Articles 17 and 18 of the Pancheswor Multiple Project, the Himalayan Times reported.

The third agreement is about cooperation between Nepal Television and Doordarshan, the state-owned television stations of both the countries, it said.

From Singhadurbar, Modi went to the Constituent Assembly building in New Baneshwar to meet Speaker Subas Chandra Nembang.
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