Prime Minister Imran Khan has not been invited to the oath-taking ceremony of India’s designated premier Narendra Modi as the latter only invited the leaders from the BIMSTEC member states, Indian media reported on Monday.
The BIMSTEC, or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, member states are: Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan and India.
A Hindustan Times report says, “The government of India has invited the leaders of the BIMSTEC Member States for the swearing-in ceremony. This is in line with the government’s focus on its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.”
In addition, the presidents of France, Russia and prime ministers of Israel and Bangladesh have been invited as well to the ceremony scheduled on May 30.
“The invitation fits in well with two key policies of the dispensation in New Delhi — “neighbourhood first” and “Act East” — considering that Bimstec member states account for 22% of the world’s population and have a combined Gross Domestic Product of nearly $2.7 trillion,” the report said.
For the swearing-in ceremony for Modi’s first term in 2014, all nations from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Maldives, were invited.
In 2014 Pakistan’s then prime minister Nawaz Sharif attended the ceremony, to the anger of some of Modi’s Hindu-nationalist allies. Modi could still meet PM Imran at a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Kyrgyzstan next month, that both leaders may attend.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) reported on Sunday that PM Imran telephoned his Indian counterpart Modi on Sunday and congratulated him over his electoral victory for the second term.
Expressing his desire for carrying out joint efforts for the betterment of their nationals, Imran urged Modi to work together for peace and development of the region.
India’s counting of hundreds of millions of votes in its general election last Thursday showed a coalition led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party taking a landslide lead.