New Delhi: Heads of the government from neighbouring BIMSTEC countries – Bangla-desh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand – are being invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Modi for the second term on May 30, but there is no word on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. External affairs ministry sources said, as a part of the Neighbourhood First policy, the BIMSTEC countries’ heads are being sent invitations. In 2014, Modi had invited all the SAARC leaders, including then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, to attend the oath-taking function. Sources said the Pakistan Prime Minister has been left out in view of the soured relations after the Pulwama attack in February.
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 also been invited to attend the oath-taking, the foreign ministry said. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will not be attending the ceremony due to a prescheduled foreign visit, said a government release quoted by news agency PTI. Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq, as the senior most Cabinet member of the Bangladesh government, will attend the ceremony instead. In 2014 as well, Hasina had skipped the ceremony because of a foreign tour. Sources in the Sri Lankan establishment have confirmed that Sirisena would be visiting India. Recently, he had visited China and his attendance at the swearing-in ceremony would send a strong message that Colombo is keen on keeping its momentum in ties with India, sources added.
Meanwhile, buoyed by BJP’s massive win, yoga guru Ramdev on Monday said that May 23, the day on which the election results were announced, should be celebrated as “Modi diwas”. Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for winning the trust of crores of people, he said, “On one side there was ”Mahagathbandan” and on the other side, there was Modi alone. He fought the polls and registered a resounding victory in Uttar Pradesh. People are now secure in his hands.” Talking to reporters in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar, he said, “May 23, the day on which BJP won the elections with a massive mandate, should either be celebrated as Modi diwas or lok kalyan diwas.”