Modi's swearing-in ceremony: Bangladesh PM Hasina, Seychelles VP Afif arrive in Delhi

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New Delhi, Jun 8 (PTI) India on Friday announced that leaders of seven countries from India's neighbourhood and the Indian Ocean region including Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi on June 9.

Hasina and Vice-President of Seychelles Ahmed Afif have already arrived in Delhi.

Besides Hasina and Afif, the other leaders attending the ceremony are Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

"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," it 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.

"The swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Council of Ministers following the General Elections 2024 is scheduled on June 9 2024. On the occasion, leaders from India's neighbourhood and Indian Ocean region have been cordially invited as distinguished guests," the MEA said.

In addition to participating in the swearing-in ceremony, the leaders will attend a banquet hosted by President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan, it said.

The swearing-in ceremony is slated to take place at 7:15 PM on Sunday at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Shortly after Hasina arrived in Delhi on Saturday, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said on X: "This visit of one of our most valued partners will further strengthen India-Bangladesh close and deep-rooted bonds of friendship." Jaiswal also welcomed the visit of Afif to India.

"The visit will impart further momentum to India-Seychelles bilateral ties," he said.

The invitation by New Delhi to Muizzu to attend the swearing-in ceremony assumed significance as it came amid frosty ties between India and the Maldives.

The ties between India and the Maldives came under severe strain since November last year when Muizzu, known for his pro-China leanings, took charge as Maldivian president.

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.

The leaders of regional grouping SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries attended Modi's first swearing 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 prime minister for the second consecutive term.

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. PTI MPB ZMN