President Wickremesinghe departs to attend Prime Minister Modi’s swearing-in

Sunday, 09 June 2024 - 10:13

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has departed for New Delhi at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. He will attend Prime Minister Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, scheduled for this evening, according to the President’s Media Division (PMD).

Leaders from seven neighboring countries, including Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, are set to attend Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony after he secured a historic third term as Prime Minister following India’s general elections. They will be among 9,000 guests, including foreign dignitaries and prominent figures from around the world, gathered in Delhi for Mr. Modi’s oath-taking ceremony on Sunday.

The Indian foreign ministry confirmed that leaders from Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and other neighboring countries have accepted the invitation to attend the ceremony. A video released by the ministry highlighted “the esteemed guests from India’s neighborhood and Indian Ocean region” attending the event. Notable attendees include Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, and Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and Seychelles’ Vice President Ahmed Afif will also be present.

“The attendance of these leaders for Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony for his third consecutive term aligns with India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and ‘SAGAR’ vision,” stated the Indian foreign ministry.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to be sworn in for a third consecutive term today. While the entire council of ministers will not be sworn in during this ceremony, sources indicate that nearly 30 ministers will take the oath. The complete council of ministers is expected to have between 78 and 81 members.

Following PM Modi, key ministers responsible for crucial portfolios such as home, defence, finance, and external affairs will be sworn in, all of which will continue to be held by the BJP. Additionally, ministers handling vital infrastructure sectors like steel, civil aviation, and coal are likely to be included in this initial swearing-in.

The official time for the ceremony is scheduled from 7:15 to 8 PM, with the event expected to last around 45 minutes. Ministers set to take the oath will receive calls from the government starting this morning.

For the first time in a decade, the BJP does not hold a majority on its own, which will be reflected in the swearing-in ceremony and the cabinet's composition. Allies, particularly Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party and Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United, are pushing for more than one ministerial berth, necessitating accommodations for other coalition partners as well.

Despite plans to reduce the number of ministers, sources suggest that very few cabinet members will hold more than one portfolio in this third iteration of PM Modi's cabinet. Once sworn in today, PM Modi will become only the second individual in India's history to serve as Prime Minister for three successive terms, following Jawaharlal Nehru, who won the 1952, 1957, and 1962 general elections.

Security measures have been intensified in the national capital, with prohibitory orders and traffic restrictions in place, particularly around Rashtrapati Bhavan, to ensure the smooth conduct of the ceremony.

The oath-taking ceremony will be held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, starting at 6 PM on Sunday. The capital remains on high alert, with Section 144 in place to restrict large gatherings. SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) nation leaders have also been invited to the event.

Following the ceremony, a banquet hosted by President Droupadi Murmu will take place at her residence. Over 2,500 police officers, including the SWAT team and National Security Guard commandos, will provide security throughout the city, with multi-layered security measures around the presidential palace.

Among the special guests are laborers involved in the Central Vista redevelopment project and rat-hole miners who assisted in rescuing 41 trapped construction workers from a tunnel in Uttarakhand last year.

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