7 leaders from India's neighbourhood, Indian Ocean region arrive in Delhi for Modi's oath ceremony

Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and his Bhutanese counterpart Tshering Tobgay arrived in Delhi on Sunday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi.
State Heads of Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal Muritius, Bhutan arrive in Delhi
State Heads of Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal Muritius, Bhutan arrive in Delhi

New Delhi | Top leaders from India's neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region, including Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, arrived in Delhi on Sunday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi and the Union council of ministers.

Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and his Bhutanese counterpart Tshering Tobgay also reached Delhi for the ceremony where Modi will take the oath for the third straight term along with his ministerial colleagues.

Bangladesh President Sheikh Hasina and Vice-President of Seychelles Ahmed Afif arrived in Delhi on Saturday.

Among the foreign leaders, Muizzu's visit has assumed greater significance as it came against the backdrop of the ties between India and the Maldives witnessing significant strain.

It is Muizzu's first visit to India after he became the island nation's president on November 17 last year.

The swearing-in ceremony is scheduled to start at 7:15 pm at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

"President @MMuizzu of Maldives arrives to a warm welcome in New Delhi to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said on 'X'.

"India and Maldives are maritime partners and close neighbours," he added.

Saturday, Muizzu said he looked forward to working with Modi to further strengthen the close relations with India, noting that the relationship between the two countries is heading in the "positive direction".

The ties between India and the Maldives came under severe strain after Muizzu, known for his pro-China leanings, took charge of the top office.

Within hours of his oath, he had demanded the withdrawal of Indian military personnel from his country. The Indian military personnel were replaced by civilians earlier this month.

After the arrival of Tobgay, Jaiswal said the visit would "further strengthen close bonds of friendship and cooperation between India and Bhutan."

On the visit by Wickremesinghe, the MEA spokesperson said India and Sri Lanka are civilisational partners and enjoy strong and enduring bilateral ties.

Nepal PM Prachanda was the last one to arrive in Delhi.

"The visit reflects the unique India-Nepal ties and will also provide further impetus to our multifaceted relationship," Jaiswal said on 'X'.

"The visit of the leaders to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his third consecutive term is in keeping with the highest priority accorded by India to its 'Neighbourhood First' policy and 'SAGAR' vision," the Ministry of External Affairs said.

India has been cooperating with the countries of the Indian Ocean region under the broader policy framework of SAGAR or Security and Growth for all in the Region.

This time, though the BJP could not get a majority on its own in the recent Lok Sabha polls, the party-led alliance secured 293 seats out of 543. The majority mark in the lower house is 272.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh PM Hasina called on BJP patriarch LK Advani at his residence.

In addition to participating in the swearing-in ceremony, the foreign leaders will also attend a banquet hosted by President Droupadi Murmu.

Modi is likely to hold separate bilateral meetings with the foreign leaders.

The leaders of regional grouping SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries attended Modi's first swearing-in ceremony when he took the reins as the prime minister after a massive electoral victory for BJP.

Leaders of the BIMSTEC countries attended Modi's swearing-in ceremony in 2019 when he became the prime minister for the second consecutive term.

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