Claude Arpi, May 19, 2022 – First Post
India’s foreign relations are changing fast and for the better. During the last few months, Delhi witnessed a flurry of visits by dignitaries from Japan, US, UN, UK, etc, and the successful trip of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Europe where he met the top leadership of Germany, Nordic countries and France.
India is today able to assert its own foreign policy, its own priorities, and its own interests. While being ready to work for the global good, Delhi kept a balanced view of the unfolding events in the world, particularly in Ukraine. But neighbours remain neighbours, and their importance needs to be emphasised again and again. Prime Minister Modi’s one-day trip to Lumbini should be seen in this context.
The Lumbini visit
Lumbini is located a couple of kilometres from the Indian border; the border town of Sonauli in Maharajganj district of Uttar Pradesh is hardly a one-hour drive from Lumbini and the Nautanwa railway station just a few kilometres away. Nothing could illustrate more the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy than a visit to the Buddha’s birthplace.