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Pak PM Sharif to attend Modi’s swearing-in ceremony

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Islamabad, May 24 :

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Saturday confirmed that he would attend the oath taking ceremony of Indian Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi to be held Monday, a media report said.

Officials said that Sharif took the decision after a series of consultations with his close aides, Dawn online reported.

Nawaz-Sharif (1)Sharif will be accompanied by Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz.

The Pakistan Foreign Office had urged Sharif to attend the ceremony, saying that the bitterness towards Pakistan shown during the election campaign in India would subside after the formation of a new government in New Delhi.

Khurshid Ahmed Shah, leader of opposition in Pakistan’s National Assembly, had also urged Sharif to accept the invitation in the larger interest of the people of the two countries.

Narendra Modi had invited the leaders of member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) for the swearing-in ceremony.

Apart from Sharif, the dignitaries who will attend include Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, Bangladesh Parliament Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury. Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam is also attending the ceremony.

It is the first time in India’s history that leaders from neighbouring countries have been invited to the swearing-in ceremony of a prime minister.

Modi, who will be sworn in at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan Monday evening, would hold brief bilateral talks with each leader the following day.

(IANS)