PM Modi’s swearing-in ceremony: World leaders to start converging in the capital from Wednesday

Huma Siddiqui

For Prime Minister Narendra Modi s swearing-in ceremony, prime ministers and presidents of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) member states as well as special invitees including the President Sooronbay Jeenbekov of the Kyrgyz Republic, current Chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth of Mauritius will start arriving in New Delhi from Wednesday.

Confirmations have been received by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) from Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli of Nepal; Prime Minister Lotay Tshering of Bhutan; President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka; President Abdul Hamid of Bangladesh; President Win Myint of Myanmar; and from Thailand, a special envoy will be attending, said sources.

The government decided once again to focus on ‘neighbourhood first policy and invited the member countries of BIMSTEC which includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand besides India. It has been confirmed that there is no invitation for the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan for the swearing-in ceremony.

After his first win in 2014, Modi had invited the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) SAARC leaders which had included the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif. The SAARC includes the eight South Asian countries including India, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

It is expected that Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina will come on a goodwill visit to meet Modi next month before he leaves for the Maldives, dates for which are being firmed up. According to experts, The visit to Maldives is part of `Neighbourhood First policy and India has maintained a special and strategic relationship with the island nation. Also, it is important in India s maritime and security interests. Besides being the first responder at times of urgent needs, India has also provided extensive financial, developmental, capacity building and infrastructural support.

Sri Lanka was the first to announce that President Maithripala Sirisena will be coming for the swearing in.