NEW DELHI India has sent out invites to leaders of all neighbouring countries except Pakistan for the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi on May 30 as he steps into his second term as Prime Minister.
The invites have also been sent to leaders of Kyrgz Republic and Mauritius.
The Prime Minister is unlikely to extend the invite to Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan, reports suggest.
An Indian government statement on Monday said the leaders of Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal, and Bhutan – all members, with India, of the little-known Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) – have been invited to Modi’s swearing-in.
“This is in line with Government’s focus on its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy,” a government spokesman said.
For the swearing-in ceremony for Modi’s first term in 2014, all nations from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Maldives, were invited.
In 2014 Pakistan’s then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the ceremony, to the anger of some of Modi’s Hindu-nationalist allies. Modi and Khan both claimed their air forces carried out air strikes in enemy territory in March, to the alarm of world powers.
Modi, who was widely believed to have benefited politically from the stand-off, won a second term with an increased majority in a general election whose results were declared last week.
Modi spoke with his Pakistani counterpart to accept congratulations on Sunday, but did not extend an invitation to his swearing-in ceremony.
This was their first phone conversation since Modi called up Khan on the latters electoral victory in July 2018.
President Ram Nath Kovind will administer the oath of office and secrecy to the prime minister and other members of the Union Council of Ministers at a ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday at 7pm.