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India invites BIMSTEC leaders for PM Narendra Modi’s oath-taking ceremony


India has invited the leaders of the BIMSTEC Member Countries to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 30, 2019.

The External Affairs Ministry has also sent the invitations to Sooronbay Jeenbekov, the President of Kyrgyzstan who is the current Chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and to Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, the Chief Guest 2019 Pravasi Bhartiya Divas.

Narendra Modi is set to take oath for his second term as Prime Minister on May 30. President Ram Nath Kovind will administer the Oath of Office and Secrecy to Modi and his Council of Ministers at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.

Significance

These invitations were in line with the Government’s focus on the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. The move holds diplomatic significance as it majorly outreaches India’s neighbourhood, engrossing Indian diaspora across the world.

The invitation to SCO Chair Sooronbay Jeenbekov signifies India’s outreach to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which has China, Pakistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan as its members.

2014 swearing-in ceremony of PM Modi

In 2014, all the SAARC leaders were invited for the oath-taking ceremony of PM Modi, including the then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) group comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

India’s transit from SAARC to BIMSTEC

India knocked-off its engagement with the SAARC and augmented its contributions in BIMSTEC simultaneously after the Uri Attack of 2016 that claimed 18 soldiers of the Indian Army. Pakistan based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed was behind the attack.

Following the attack, India decided to boycott the SAARC summit to be held in Islamabad in November 2016 and opted to renew its engagement with BIMSTEC by hosting an Outreach Summit with BIMSTEC leaders alongside the 2016 BRICS summit in Goa.

India’s boycott of SAARC summit was supported by the BIMSTEC member countries, isolating Pakistan.

Will India invite Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for the ceremony?

So far, there has been no indication from the Ministry or the Government on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan being invited for the ceremony.

India’s relation with Pakistan grew sour after the Pulwama terror attack of February 2019 that killed an Indian army convoy of over 40 CRPF personnel. India relentlessly responded to the attack by aerial strikes on terror camps in Balakot in Pakistan.

About BIMSTEC

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was founded in 1997.

It is an international regional organisation of seven nations of South Asia and South East Asia.

The BIMSTEC member countries are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal. All these seven countries lie near the Bay of Bengal.

The first BIMSTEC summit was held in Thailand in 1997; second was held in 2008 in India; the third was held in 2014 in Myanmar and the fourth was held in 2018 in Nepal.

Sri Lanka is the current Chair of the BIMSTEC.

4th BIMSTEC Summit: Kathmandu Declaration adopted by Member States

Signing and ratification of BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters approved



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