In Lumbini, Modi said that while Buddhism gives India a cultural foothold in Nepal, it may not be enough to counter China.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Lumbini on Buddha Poornima on Monday . He led prayers at the Mayadevi temple, which is believed to be the Buddhas birthplace .

Lumbini and its residents remained uneasy, if not angry, for long.There was also a fear that Indian tour handlers were treating it unfairly.Prime Minister Narendra Modi attempted to address this problem about eight years ago when he told Nepal's Constituent Assembly that the Buddha was born in Nepal, but only made a one-day visit to the Buddha's birthplace before being herded back to Buddhist shrines in India.On Buddha Poornima on Monday, he became the first Indian Prime Minister to do so.

Delhi has been indifferent to the massive strides China has made in Nepal.Modi landed at a newly built helipad close to the Mayadevi temple, avoiding the Gautam Buddha International Airport, which was established by his host earlier in the morning on the auspicious day, and was co-incidentally opened by his host earlier in the morning.China had first offered to invest $3 billion to make Lumbini the world peace city under the leadership of its NGO Asia Pacific Exchange and Foundation, which succeeded Maoist leader Prachanda as vice In the main area of the Lumbini Development Project, China has also established a monastery.China's proposal to expand it as the World Peace Centre and develop a railway line between Tibet and Kathmandu is now in jeopardy, but it is not completely abandoned.

China responded with a similar presence and economic development.This has had a big effect on Nepal's internal politics and policymaking.China's future was broad and took into account many aspects, unlike its competitors.Lumbini has now become a microcosm of the country's competing international powers, thanks in large part to China.

Dr Karan Singh's apprehension at a dinner table was palpable.The leader of the senior Congress party was then residing in Nepal.Lumbini is about a mile from the Indian border, he asked.Former King Gyanendra Shah had responded to his call not even ten kilometers away.

However, how much Modis' visit to Lumbini will make up for Delhi's indignation is yet to be decided.The two countries signed an agreement to form a multi-day Buddhist network, which would lead to the creation of a Buddhist network in Lumbini.India also agreed to establish the Dr B R Ambedkar Chair in Lumbini University, with approximately 1,000 students enrolled, including from China.Modi has made a good move by befriending Deuba and rerepairing the damage in bilateral relations that occurred between 2016 and 2021 when he and his then Nepali counterpart K P Oli disbanded.India not only refused to accept Nepal's constitution, which was promulgated in September 2015, but also imposed an economic blockade for 134 days.

A visit to Lumbini by Modis and the building of the monastery's foundation can give India a foothold and cultural space.However, this does not mean that it will be able to outdo its opponents, including the West and China, who are already deeply rooted in Nepal.The writer is a senior journalist based in Kathmandu...