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Prime Minister Modi will visit Janakpur next time: Swaraj

PTI 24 Nov 2014, 23:57:12 PM IST

Kathmandu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Janakpur, the birth place of Sita, has not been cancelled but only postponed due to his busy schedule, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today.  “It would not be appropriate to say that the visit was cancelled,” Swaraj said, adding “The Prime Minister was desirous to come to Janakpur.”

“During his previous visit to Nepal the Prime Minister had said that he would like to visit Janakpur, Lumbini and Muktinath. However, the schedule was busy as the parliament session has started. That is why he won't be able to go there,” Swaraj said on her arrival here for the 18th SAARC Summit.

“However, he has assured and he would commit in person, when he visits Nepal that he would certainly visit Janakpur next time,” she added.

Modi will leave for Nepal tomorrow to attend the SAARC Summit in Kathmandu on November 26-27.  The Prime Minister was scheduled to visit Janakpur, situated 250 kms south of Kathmandu.

He was also keen to visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, and another sacred Hindu pilgrimage site, Muktinath, located in the southern mountainous region.

Terming SAARC as the big mechanism for all the neighbours to hold bilateral as well as regional meetings, Swaraj expressed hope that the summit will be successful.

She said the summit will be the second opportunity for her and Prime Minister Modi to meet all the member-states.

“We had invited all the head of states of SAARC nations to the swearing-in ceremony of the new government in India. We had bilateral talks with all the eight nations, the very next day after inauguration.

“And this time round, we will again be having the opportunity to talk to these nations. Therefore, I am here with much hope and expectation,” she said.  “There would be constructive dialogue and we would be able to make good decisions.”

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, “India sees SAARC as a regional cooperative framework and is ready to enhance ties with the grouping.”