Modi sends invites to SAARC heads to attend swearing-in
On the other hand, US President Barack Hussein Obama despite ‘leaning for a good cause’, as his name means, has not yet been reciprocated with a similar gesture of warmth from the Modi establishment. Soon after Modi emerged as the undisputed leader of the country following the landslide victory, Obama almost agreeing that ‘chest size matters’, took no time in congratulating Modi.
However, what has surprised foreign policy observers is that Modi has decided to invite world leaders and also restrict the invitation only to India’s neighbourhood.
When the two leaders had a telephonic conversation, Obama invited Modi for a US visit, despite having denied him a visa all these years. Modi did not reciprocate the gesture as categorically. The US President has invited Modi to America to strengthen the strategic relationship between the two countries.
Political experts feel that there was a ‘subtle’ but ‘strong’ message to the US that days of much hullabaloo over America is over and India will only mean business under the leadership of Modi. Modi’s projection of need for a cordial relation with other SAARC countries (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan) is also a way to address the domestic constituency. Despite provocative steps taken by Pakistan in the past fortnight of expelling Indian journalists, Modi has tried showing large-heartedness in inviting the Pakistani head of state. Prior to extending invitation, Modi has had conversations with leaders of Pakistan, Bangladesh and other neighboring countries who had telephoned him to convey their wishes. All of them including Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif have been invited to attend the oath ceremony.
President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, Mahinda Rajapaksa from Sri Lanka, Nepal’s Ram Baran Yadav and King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck have confirmed their presence in the national capital during the ceremony. However, conformation is awaited from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Maldives. Turn to PG7