PM Modi's swearing-in: Eight foreign leaders attend ceremony
New Delhi, May 30: President of Bangladesh Abdul Hamid, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering were among the foreign leaders who attended Prime Minister Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony on Thursday.
President of Myanmar U Win Myint and Special Envoy of Thailand Grisada Boonrach also graced the ceremony at the majestic forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Prime Minister Modi and a team of 57 ministers were sworn-in by President Ram Nath Kovind at a glittering ceremony attended by around 8,000 guests. Kyrgyz President Jeenbekov, the current chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and Mauritius PM Pravind Kumar Jugnauth also attended the ceremony.
India invited leaders of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries as well as Jeenbekov and Jugnauth.
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 neighbourhood.
However, this time, the BIMSTEC leaders were invited, seen as an attempt to avoid inviting Pakistan for the event. Founded in 1997, BIMSTEC currently represents over 1.5 billion people and having a combined gross domestic product of USD 3.5 trillion.