Swearing-in preparations in full swing, BIMSTEC leaders confirm attendance

PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BIMSTEC leaders at the Leader’s Retreat, in Kathmandu on Friday, Aug 31, 2018. (PIB Photo via PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BIMSTEC leaders at the Leader’s Retreat, in Kathmandu on Friday, Aug 31, 2018. (PIB Photo via PTI)

Leaders of all BIMSTEC countries have confirmed their participation in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony on Thursday for a second term.

Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov also confirmed their participation at the event, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said President of Bangladesh Abdul Hamid, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, and Prime Minister of Nepal K P Sharma Oli have confirmed their participation at Modi’s swearing-in ceremony.

He said President of Myanmar U Win Myint and Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering also confirmed their attendance at the event.

From Thailand, Kumar said, its Special Envoy Grisada Boonrach will represent the country at the ceremony.

“We look forward to receiving the dignitaries in New Delhi for the ceremony,” said the MEA spokesperson.

India invited leaders of the BIMSTEC countries as well as Kyrgyz President Jeenbekov, the current chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and Mauritius PM Jugnauth for the Modi’s swearing-in.

Besides India, BIMSTEC comprises Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan.

In 2014, Modi had invited all SAARC leaders including the then Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in ceremony, in a major initiative to reach out to the neighbouring countries.

However, invitation to BIMSTEC leaders for the event on Thursday is seen as an attempt to send a signal to Pakistan that India is not willing to engage with it.

Sharif’s attendance at Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in 2014 had triggered hopes of better ties between the two countries. There were several engagements between the leaders of the two countries following Sharif’s visit here. However, the ties derailed after the Pathankot terror attack in January 2016.

(PTI)