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IndiaSeven neighbouring nations' leaders to attend Modi’s swearing-in on Sunday; Pakistan not...

Seven neighbouring nations’ leaders to attend Modi’s swearing-in on Sunday; Pakistan not to attend


New Delhi, Jun 8: Seven leaders of neighbouring nations barring Pakistan, but including the currently-estranged Maldives, will attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi on Sunday evening.

The leaders of Bangladesh and Seychelles will arrive on Saturday while the ones of Bhutan, Nepal, Mauritius, Nepal and Sri Lanka will land on Sunday.

In a way, the invitations are a redux of Modi's first swearing-in when he had invited all of SAARC's leaders including then Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif.

Sources said no invite was sent to Islamabad and, even if it had been despatched, Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif could not have made it in view of his pre-scheduled and much-awaited ongoing visit to China.

The first to arrive at noon will be Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who had anyway pencilled her plan to visit for bilateral talks after the elections got over.

Hasina would be reciprocating the whole-hearted backing from India during the Bangladesh general elections which helped neutralise pressure from the US to accommodate the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)- Jamat-e-Islami alliance.

Vice President of the Republic of Seychelles Ahmed Afif will also arrive on Sunday. India has helped Seychelles, located strategically in the western Indian Ocean, upgrade its administrative and communications infrastructure and is eyeing a naval foothold at one of its islands.

Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth, from a family that has held top political positions for over four decades, will also land in Delhi on Sunday. India has been a consistent backer of Mauritius in both development and security fields, the bilateral proximity helped by a 70 per cent Indian-origin population.

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu will arrive simultaneously on his first visit to India after taking over the top post last year. His foreign policy took a distinctively pro-China tilt but the ice thawed when Maldives Foreign Minister Moosa Zameer visited India for talks early last month.

The Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay will also arrive on Sunday. Thimphu, a vital cog in India's neighbourhood strategy, is facing pulls and pressures from China to finalise their boundary as well as permit Beijing to open its embassy in the country.

PM Modi had made an unusually sudden visit to Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck in March that took place within a few days of Tshering's maiden visit to India after becoming PM for the second time.

The President of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickramsinghe will arrive a couple of hours after Tobgay lands in Delhi. Both sides have several important issues on the plate, the foremost being greater economic integration between the two countries.

The Nepal Prime Minister Push Kumar Dahal `Prachanda' will be the last of the leaders of the seven nations to arrive.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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