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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Muizzu to Hasina, Wickremesinghe to Prachanda among guests at PM Modi's swearing-in on June 9

Modi had asked officials to send out invitations to the leaders of seven neighbouring nations – Bangladesh, Seychelles, Nepal, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives – in keeping with his ‘Neighbourhood First’ foreign policy.
nirban Bhaumik
Last Updated : 06 June 2024, 16:38 IST
Last Updated : 06 June 2024, 16:38 IST

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New Delhi: With Narendra Modi set to take over as the prime minister of India for the third term, the government has invited the leaders of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Seychelles, and Mauritius to visit New Delhi during the weekend and attend the swearing-in ceremony at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

New Delhi also extended an invitation to President Mohamed Muizzu of the Maldives, notwithstanding his moves over the past few months to lead the Indian Ocean archipelago into the orbit of China’s geo-political influence, triggering concerns in India.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal a.k.a. Prachanda, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan, President Wavel Ramkalawan of Seychelles, and Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth of Mauritius are likely to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

New Delhi and Malé are in touch with each other to confirm if Muizzu will attend the swearing-in ceremony of Modi.

A source in New Delhi told DH that Modi had asked officials to send out invitations to the leaders of seven neighbouring nations – Bangladesh, Seychelles, Nepal, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives – in keeping with his ‘Neighbourhood First’ foreign policy.

The move is also significant as India has been trying to counter China’s bid to spread its tentacles beyond Pakistan and Afghanistan to other countries in South Asia as well as in the Indian Ocean region.

After Wickremesinghe called Modi to congratulate him for leading the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to win the parliamentary elections, the prime minister conveyed to the Sri Lankan president India’s “continued commitment to building stronger ties” with the neighbouring Indian Ocean island “in keeping with the Neighbourhood First Policy and the SAGAR vision”.

Modi and Hasina also had a phone call. They pledged “to continue working together to further deepen the historic and close ties under the renewed mandate towards achieving the visions of Viksit Bharat 2047 and Smart Bangladesh 2041”.

When Modi had taken the oath to commence his first term as the prime minister in May 2014, New Delhi had played host to the leaders of the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) nations, including M Nawaz Sharif, the then prime minister of Pakistan. Modi had held separate bilateral meetings with all the SAARC leaders, including one with Sharif, which had raised hope for a thaw in bilateral relations. But after back-to-back terror attacks in India by outfits based in Pakistan, Modi had declined to attend the 19th SAARC summit that Sharif had planned to host in Islamabad in November 2016, leading to the cancellation of the conclave. The SAARC has remained in an impasse since then.

With New Delhi focussing on breathing fresh life into the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) and projecting it as an alternative to the SAARC for regional cooperation sans spoilsport Pakistan, the leaders of the seven-nation bloc had been invited to attend the second ceremony when Modi had taken the oath for his second term in May 2019.

The leaders of Myanmar and Afghanistan had attended Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in 2014 and 2019. But, with Myanmar ruled by a military junta since February 2021 and Afghanistan under the Taliban since August 2021, New Delhi refrained from sending out invitations to Kabul and Nay Pyi Daw this time.  

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Published 06 June 2024, 16:38 IST

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