PM Modi Renews Push For "Neighbourhood First" At Second Oath Ceremony

BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is a regional grouping of countries on the rim of the Bay of Bengal -- Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and also Nepal and Bhutan

The President will administer the oath of office and secrecy to PM Modi on Thursday. (File photo)

Highlights

  • Leaders of BIMSTEC will attend PM Modi's swearing-in ceremony on May 30
  • Kyrgyz President, Mauritian PM have also been invited: foreign ministry
  • SAARC leaders, including Pak PM attended PM Modi's oath ceremony in 2014
New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's oath ceremony on Thursday at the Rashtrapati Bhavan will be attended by leaders of the BIMSTEC member countries, in line with the government's "Neighbourhood First" policy, the foreign ministry said in a statement. The notable omissions in the neighbourhood are Pakistan and its key ally China. In 2014, leaders of SAARC countries, which included then-Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, were invited for PM Modi's oath ceremony.

BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is a regional grouping of countries on the rim of the Bay of Bengal -- Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and also Nepal and Bhutan. Additionally, the President of Kyrgyzstan -- chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation -- and the Prime Minister of Mauritius, the Chief Guest at this year's Pravasi Bhartiya Divas, have been invited to attend the oath ceremony on May 30, the foreign ministry said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had tweeted his congratulations to PM Modi after his landslide victory in the recently-concluded general election. The cricketer-turned-politician, who dialled the Prime Minister yesterday, had earlier expressed hopes that if the BJP wins, "some kind of settlement in Kashmir could be reached".

Relations with Pakistan- tottering since the terror strike at Uri in 2016 -- took a nosedive after a suicide attack by a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist that killed 40 soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on February 14.

Days later, India conducted air-strikes on a Jaish camp in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26. The Pakistan Air Force struck back, targeting civilian and military installations in India and captured Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.

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India has refused to begin dialogue with Pakistan since the Uri attack, insisting that cross-border terror has to stop first.

Bilateral relations with China have been a major area of focus for the government, with marked improvement in trade ties. Last year, PM Modi also held an informal meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Wuhan that threw up new guidelines to maintain "peace and tranquility'' in border areas - a step forward after the Doklam stand-off. Earlier this month, China also lifted its technical hold on listing Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the United Nations.

Narendra Modi is the first BJP leader who has been elected for a second term after completion of his five-year tenure, a feat so far achieved only by three Congress leaders -- Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. Several world leaders, including US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had congratulated PM Modi on his election victory.