Nepal all set to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi
This will be Modi's third tour to Nepal
Nepal is all set to welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a two-day official visit starting on Friday. This will be Modi's third tour to Nepal. High security was in place in Janakpur, Kathmandu and Muktinath where the Indian leader will be visiting.
Three helipads were constructed at the Janakpur Airport for the landing of Modi's helicopter. He is scheduled to arrive in Janakpur at 10 a.m. and will be received by Defence Minister Ishwor Pokharel and Chief Minister of Province-2, Lalbabu Raut.
He will offer special prayers at the city's Ram Janaki Mandir, making him the first Indian Prime Minister to do so with "khodasopachar" rituals.
Before Modi, then Indian Presidents Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, Giani Zail Singh and Pranab Mukherjee performed these special prayers employing the "khodasopachar rituals", said Ram Tapeshwar Das Vaishnav, the priest at the Janaki Temple.
Later, Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and Modi will jointly inaugurate the Ramayan Circuit Bus Route connecting Janakpur (Goddess Sita's birthplace) to Ayodhya (Lord Ram's birthplace).
The Ramayan Circuit is among the 13 tourist circuits under the "Swadesh Darshan Scheme" of India.
Modi will then be offered a civic reception at the Bahrabigaha's Rangabhoomi ground where he is likely to address the people gathered to welcome him. Leaders of the parties representing the district have been invited to attend the programme. The provincial government has announced a public holiday to coincide with his visit.
After Janakpur, Modi will fly to Kathmandu to hold one-on-one talks with Oli. He will also meet President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun and leaders of the major political parties.
The Indian Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for Arun III hydroelectricity project in Sankhuwasabha district of eastern Nepal, undertaken by India's Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam, through video conferencing.
The 900-MW project is expected to be completed in five years. India will spend $1.5 billion on it.
Modi and Oli will also jointly address the media. The Nepali leader will later host a dinner for his Indian counterpart.
On Saturday, Modi will visit Muktinath temple at the foot of the Thorong La mountain pass in Mustang district to pay obeisance and also announce a "surprise gift" for its development and reconstruction.
The Annapurna trekking route in Manang will be closed for three days to trekkers and tourists due to security reasons.
Kathmandu Metropolitan City will hold a civic reception for Modi with Mayor Bidhya Sundar Sakya presenting an "artistic key" to the Indian Prime Minister.
According to officials, certain agreements were expected to be signed between the two leaders.
Modi will also be praying at Pashupatinath temple. Security has been tightened in the country and as many as 11,000 security personnel from both countries will be deployed during the visit.
Watch: Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Shwedagon Pagoda