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Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif invited for Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony

LiveMint logoLiveMint 21-05-2014 Elizabeth Roche

New Delhi: India will invite heads of state and governments of South Asian nations, including Pakistan, when Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi takes oath of office on Monday, an opportunity the new government wants to use to reboot neighbourly ties.

The foreign ministry will hold a special meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday to coordinate the arrangements for the gesture that could see leaders from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka travelling to Delhi over the weekend.

That Modi was planning to invite leaders from South Asia was first reported by the Hindustan Times on Wednesday.

A Pakistani diplomat said the high commission had been verbally told about the invitation by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but was expecting a formal invitation to be delivered by the end of the day on Wednesday.

A Sri Lankan diplomat said President Mahinda Rajapaksa will attend the ceremony to be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday evening.

Officials from the other South Asian embassies in New Delhi, too, said so. None of them offered any further comments. They all declined to be named.

Leaders of some other countries including those in Europe will also be invited for the swearing-in ceremony, according to BJP officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Modi led the BJP to victory in the national elections whose results were announced on 16 May. The party garnered 282 seats, while the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance secured 336 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha.

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