Hasina gets warm welcome in Delhi

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reached New Delhi yesterday to attend the swearing in-ceremony of Narendra Modi today as the Indian prime minister.

She became the first foreign leader to have reached the Indian capital for the event at the Rashtrapati Bhavan at 7:20pm, the Indian external affairs ministry tweeted.

“This visit of one of our most valued partners will further strengthen close and deep-rooted bonds of friendship,” said the ministry.

It also tagged pictures of Hasina being warmly received by External Affairs Secretary Muktesh Pardeshi. Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Mustafizur Rahman and Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pranay Kumar Verma were also present.

This is Hasina’s first visit to India after the January 7 parliamentary polls in Bangladesh.

During her stay in New Delhi, the Bangladesh premier, who is leading a 60-member delegation, is likely to meet Modi after his swearing-in ceremony.

Hasina along with other foreign leaders will attend a banquet, to be hosted by Indian President Droupadi Murmu, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan after the oath-taking.

Apart from Hasina, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, Vice-President of Seychelles Ahmed Afif, Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister of Bhutan Tshering Tobgay, have accepted the invitation to attend Modi’s oath-taking, the Indian external affairs ministry said in a statement yesterday.

“The visit of the leaders to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Shri 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,” the ministry said.

Muizzu was a surprise addition to the list of invitees, especially amid the strained ties between India and the Maldives since his election last year on the back of an “India Out” campaign.

The opposition INDIA bloc is yet to get invitation for attending the swearing-in of Modi.

Replying to a question from reporters, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said his party was yet get any invite for the swearing-in. “If and when we get it, we as INDIA bloc will take a collective decision.”

In Kolkata, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday made it clear that her party Trinamool Congress would not attend Modi’s oath-taking.

Hasina is scheduled to return Dhaka tomorrow.

LondonGBDESK//

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