May 28, 2019 07:00 AM NPT
Maldives, Pakistan and Afghanistan do not get invite
KATHMANDU, May 28: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has formally extended invitation to Prime Minister KP Oli along with the heads of the government from other Bimstec member states and the chair of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to attend his swearing-in scheduled for May 30.
Diplomatic sources confirmed that Prime Minister Oli along with executive heads of the government of other Bimstec member states including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Bhutan were sent invitations on Monday to attend the swearing-in ceremony as Prime Minister Modi assumes office for the next five years after resounding victory of his party in recent Lok Sabha elections.
India has also invited Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, who is currently serving as SCO chair to the swearing-in ceremony, which will be held in New Delhi. Besides the SCO chair, the head of the government from Mauritius will also be attending the ceremony.
Indian media reported that Bangladeshi Liberation Minister Mozzamel Haque, Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka, special envoy of the prime minister of Thailand and Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering have confirmed their participation in the event.
Senior government officials said Prime Minister Oli is likely to visit New Delhi on the day of the swearing-in on May 30 as the government is scheduled to present the budget for the fiscal year 2019/20 on May 29.
During his previous swearing in ceremony in 2014, Prime Minister Modi had invited heads of the government from all SAARC member states and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala had attended the event. But this time, Maldives, Pakistan and Afghanistan have not been invited.
Analysts believe that the decision of Prime Minister Modi to invite Bimstec leaders instead of SAARC leaders may have come due to troubled relations between India and Pakistan lately. As India appears not too hopeful that SAARC could be made functional regional organization, it has lately begun focusing on other regional organizations including BIMSTEC and SCO to advance regional cooperation.