SWEARING-IN: No invite to Pakistan this time for Modi ministry’s oath-taking at Rashtapati Bhavan

PM arriving to address NDA MPs after landslide poll win in May, 2019. 

NEWS PM INAUGURAL

NEW DELHI: In a significant policy shift, Pakistan will not get invitation this time to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday evening. While Modi the last time invited heads of SAARC nations, this time the invitations will be extended to BIMSTEC grouping of nations in the neighbourhood. 

The grouping is styled as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. The nations in this grouping are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, besides Nepal and Bhutan.

Besides letters to the leaders of these, invitations have also gone to the president of Krygyztan who is heading the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and the Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravin Kumar Jugnauth.

Notably, China has also been excluded from the list of invitees. Chinese president Xi Jinping and Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan were among the leaders who called up PM Modi and congratulated him for the repeated success in Indian parliamentary polls. Imran Khan expressed the hope that PM Modi, in his second innings, would work for a lasting settlement on Kashmir.

Imran Khan had openly favoured a return of the “right-wing” BJP and PM Modi to power after the LS polls, saying they only will have the courage to take strong decisions.

The first term of PM Modi, the inauguration of which was witnessed by regional SAARC leader including Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif as special invitees, however saw relations with Pakistan worsening. The period also saw a gang-up between China and Pakistan to give pin-pricks to India. Pakistan-trained terrorists – suspected to be those trained by the Pakistani army – had repeatedly come and hit at installations in India, including an army camp in Uri, the airbase camp in Pathankot, and topping them with an attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama in Kashmir. There were also regular ceasefire violations along the LoC. The year 2018 itself saw nearly 3,000 ceasefire violations from the Pakistani army, opening fire against Indian posts. The ceasefire agreement is in place since 2003.

The Modi government says it hit back with equal vehemence every time attacks came from the other side. In the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, India had sent IAF fighter jets to Pakistan’s Balakot area near the military headquarters in Rawalpindi, and rained bombs on what was suspected to be terrorist hidouts. Pakistan feigned ignorance about any casualties thereof. 

The second term of the Modi government is likely to act in more strong manners against Pakistani attempts to attack India thorugh the instrument of terror. IHN-NN



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