Nepal’s newest China-built airport sparks tension with India

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Nepal opened a Chinese-built airport on May 16, 2022, intended to capitalise on Buddhist tourism, but India's prime minister landed a few kilometres away for a visit to mark the birth, enlightenment and death of the religion's founder. Narendra Modi flew by helicopter directly from a nearby Indian airport to the Buddha's birthplace at Lumbini, bypassing the new facility as his Nepali counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba inaugurated it. The sequence of events illustrates the competition for influence in the landlocked Himalayan country from its two neighbours.

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