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Pakistan to take decision on Nawaz Sharif's presence at Narendra Modi's swearing-in on Friday

Thursday, 22 May 2014 - 8:36pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Pakistan on Thursday kept the suspense on whether its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will attend Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony on May 26 in New Delhi with a decision on the same likely to be taken tomorrow.

Other key SAARC leaders, Sri Lankan President President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom have confirmed that they will attend the ceremony at the forecourt of the historic Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.

Bangladesh will be represented by Speaker Shirin Chaudhury as Premier Sheikh Hasina is travelling to Japan.

Decision on Sharif attending Modi's swearing-in ceremony is likely to be taken tomorrow morning, say Pakistan foreign ministry sources.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam had said a formal invitation has been received but any decision by the Prime Minister to attend the ceremony would be taken later in the day.
Pakistan's ambivalence on the invitation to Sharif is seen by observers in New Delhi as a manifestation of the tussle between the elected government and the all-powerful Army establishment in Islamabad. The establishment may not be wanting Sharif to travel to New Delhi.

Mauritius Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam will also be attending the swearing-in ceremony of Modi as Prime Minister.

Immediately after BJP's landslide victory, world leaders including US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin called Modi to congratulate him. Modi through his twitter handle thanked the leaders for their wishes.

Modi will be administered the oath as 15th Prime Minister of the country by President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremony to be attended by over 3,000 guests.

BJP had a landslide victory in the just-concluded polls in India to elect members of the 16th Lok Sabha and crossed the majority mark of 272 in the 543-member House on its own for the first time in its history.
In New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson said protocol arrangements for foreign dignitaries at the swearing-in ceremony of Modi will be overseen by a senior and seasoned diplomat.

All chief ministers and governors are likely to be invited for the swearing-in ceremony. Senior journalists and distinguished people from different walks of lives will also be among invitees, BJP sources said.

Heads of SAARC countries, including Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, have already been invited and the family members of Modi, including his mother and brothers, are also likely to attend it.

Hectic preparations are on at Rashtrapati Bhawan for the exercise. Secretary to President Pranab Mukherjee, Amita Paul, has held a series of meetings with officials from various ministries and Delhi Police and security agencies to firm up arrangements for the gala event.

Following the footsteps of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi has expressed his desire to be sworn in at the forecourt so that a large number of visitors can be accommodated. Chandrashekar was another Prime Minister who had taken oath at the same venue.

BJP chalked up a landslide victory in Lok Sabha polls and crossed the magic figure of 272 in the 543-member House on its own for the first time in its history.

Modi will be administered the oath of office by President Pranab Mukherjee on May 26 at 6 pm.

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