Kathmandu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday won the hearts and minds of Nepalese people when he began his gripping address to the Parliament in Nepali language, recalling his previous visit to the country as a pilgrim. "I have returned to this beautiful country as a friend and I am happy to come here as Prime Minister," said Modi in Nepali language before continuing his speech in Hindi.
Modi recalled that he had visited Nepal as pilgrims long ago. "Since the day I entered the Prime Minister`s office, strengthening relationship with Nepal is one of the top priorities of my government, he said.
"I have come here with the goodwill and love from one and a quarter billion people of India," Modi said amidst a big applause by lawmakers in the 601-member Constituent Assembly.
In his televised speech, Modi said the world is watching the peace process of Nepal and Nepal has set an example by shunning violence and following the path of peace.
"You have abandoned Shashtra or weapons and followed Shaastra, the scriptures," he said in his 45-minute speech, highlighting the important task of writing the constitution.
"You have abandoned the path of Yuddha or War and followed the path of Buddha," Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the country in 17 years, said.
He also reiterated that Nepal is the country where apostle of peace in the world, Buddha was born.
"This is the land of Sita and Janak," he added.
"Nepal-India relations are as old as the Himalayas and the Ganga," he said. "Our relations have not moved forward with mere documents but through the heart of our peoples."
"There is a temple in Varanasi, Kashi, from where I got elected, where Nepalis are the priests and here in Pashupati, you have Indian priests, which signifies close religious ties between the two countries," he pointed out.
"The path of peace chosen by Nepal by shunning violence will inspire those people in the world who are following violence, to pursue peaceful means to attain their goal," he said, adding that the world is watching Nepal closely as global disarmament is related to Nepal`s development.
He said that Nepal is going to write a constitution which is a holy work and we are with Nepalese people in their important task.
"Those involved in writing the constitution should have a heart like that of a Rishi or sage and they should think far ahead," Modi said.
India is for taking Nepal to a new height and writing a democratic, federal and republic constitution as per the wishes of the people of Nepal, he said.
India wants to help Nepal in three ways, through HIT -- High Ways, Information Technology and Transmission lines, he observed.
India would provide as much electricity as needed by Nepal to get rid of the current load-shedding, he added. "We have not come here to interfere in your internal matters but we want to help you to develop."
He said India wants to bring Nepal closer by building a bridge over Mahakali River. This is the second time a foreign leader was addressing the Nepalese Constituent Assembly. Earlier in 1990, the then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl had delivered a keynote speech to the Constituent Assembly.
The lawmakers were seen applauding Modi`s speech which touched a lot of the daily lives in both the coutnries.