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New Delhi: President of India Pranab Mukherjee attended a civic reception hosted in his honour at Janakpur, Nepal, on November 4, 2016. Speaking on the occasion, the President said he was delighted to be in Janakpur, the city of Goddess Sita, who is revered both in India and Nepal.

” Janakpur is one of the best examples of our shared civilizational heritage. A centre of learning since ancient times, Janakpur city has attracted scholars from all corners of the world. It has been a fertile meeting place for intellectuals and scholars of all faiths. Since time immemorial, this city has been a melting pot of diverse cultures and religions. Tales abound in our folklore of how Lord Buddha and Mahavira visited Janakpur during their spiritual journey across the region. Besides, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam have also found roots in Janakpur. It is a city that has been established on the foundation of scholarship, hospitality and syncretism,” President Mukherjee said.

The President said India deeply values its partnership with Nepal across diverse sectors. As a close and friendly neighbour, India’s abiding interest in Nepal is peace, stability and prosperity, he said. He applauded the efforts of people and government of Nepal for achieving inclusive economic development, and ensuring a peaceful and prosperous life for its peoples, according to a PIB release . India takes pride in its close development partnership with Nepal and the achievements of friendly people of Nepal. The people and Government of India are committed to further deepen and expand their close ties with Nepal on the basis of mutual trust and mutual benefit, he said.

The President said the key to economic development of Janakpur lies in the promotion of the tourism sector. Recently, Janakpur and Ayodhya reinforced their ancient ties by signing a twin city agreement. ” The development of the Ramayana tourism circuit, with better facilities for millions of pilgrims, will not only generate employment opportunities but also strengthen the story of our common heritage. Janakpur is close to India – both spiritually and geographically. It is essential that we pay adequate attention to the development of border infrastructure and connectivity to facilitate movement of people,” said the President of India. He   announced the construction of two dharmashalas along the Parikrama Path around Janakpur. He expressed hope that these two dharamshalas would be of benefit to the pilgrims from both Nepal and India, said the PIB release.

The President said, “We all are cultural and spiritual ambassadors of India and Nepal. With our joint efforts, we can propagate across the globe, the message of peace and love bestowed on us by Lord Rama and Goddess Sita. It is our common responsibility to build on the legacy of our forefathers, which would be a befitting tribute to them. Let us all work together to achieve this noble objective with their blessings.”

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