India-Nepal joint motor rally to promote friendship
Kathmandu, Feb 23 (IANS)
A joint India-Nepal motor rally will be flagged off on February 27 from Puri in Odisha to promote connectivity, people-to-people contact, and spiritual and adventure tourism in both the countries, India's Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae said here Monday. "The rally is aimed at strengthening Nepal-India people-to-people exchanges and to sustain the momentum following the historic visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal last year," the envoy said.
The first Indo-Nepal Friendship Motor Rally will cover more than 2,500 km before concluding in New Delhi on March 8.
The route of the rally will cover cities like Kathmandu, Bodhgaya and Lumbini to highlight centuries-old cultural and civilisation links between India and Nepal.
"This event is of great prominence as both Puri and Kathmandu are major pilgrimage centres. It also attaches great importance to the Buddhist trail, linking Bodhgaya, where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment with Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha."
Thirty jeeps will participate in the rally.
India's Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari will be present at the closing ceremony in New Delhi, organisers said.
Both Indian and Nepali participants need to pay Rs.15,000 in their respective currencies as registration fee.
Rae said the initiative will demonstrate how physical connectivity is easy between Nepal and India.
"Some roads connecting India and Nepal are not in good condition. The rally will help identify such roads and improve the infrastructure."
He announced that two new bus services connecting Kathmandu to Varanasi and Pokhara to New Delhi will commence soon.
Giving the example of India hosting several such motor rallies with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries as part of its Act East Policy, he said such initiatives "have successfully narrowed down the distances" between nations.
This event also aims to give an impetus to tourism -- both spiritual and adventure -- in both the countries.
"The rally starts from sea level and reaches high mountains of the Himalayas in the first leg. In its second leg, the rally will connect the vibrant capitals of two countries - Kathmandu and Delhi," said an official release.
The rally is being jointly organised by the Kalinga Motor Sports Club in Bhuwaneswar and the Nepal Automobile Sports Association.
It is being supported by the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India, Ranchi Adventure Wheelers, Magadh Motor Sports Club in Patna, India's ministry of road, transport and highways, ministry of external affairs, ministry of tourism and culture, embassy of India in Kathmandu, Nepal's ministry of youth and sports, ministry of infrastructure and transport and ministry of culture, tourism and civil aviation.