Delhi Prepares for the Big Day

The MEA has put in long hours to ensure that the event at Rashtrapati Bhavan goes according to plan.

Published: 25th May 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th May 2014 08:11 AM   |  A+A-


NEW DELHI: With only a day left to go for the swearing-in ceremony, rapid changes in schedule are keeping all involved on their toes. Frayed nerves and hectic activity are evident in the corridors of South Block, with the first of the foreign dignitaries scheduled to arrive in the national capital on Sunday afternoon.

By Saturday morning, all the eight countries invited had sent their RSVP for the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi.

So, the final roll call is Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Bangladesh Speaker S S Chaudhary and Mauritius President Navin Ramgoolam.

Officials at the External Affairs Ministry have been putting in long hours to ensure that the swearing-in ceremony at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, which has now morphed into a major diplomatic event, goes off by like clockwork.

While the outline of the schedule is clear, there is still the minute-to-minute programme to be filled in.

“Right now, we are holding rehearsals. This is the most important part of protocol to ensure that everything goes off like clockwork,” said a senior MEA official. Another added, “What means at least a month of preparations has been compressed into two days.”

The first foreign VVIP to arrive would be the Bangladesh Speaker on Sunday, followed by Bhutan’s Prime Minister. The last foreign guests will leave only on Wednesday.

Former Chief of Protocol of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Ruchira Kamboj, who had just moved to Paris on her new assignment, was informed on Tuesday that she would have to fly down quickly to make the arrangements, with the current incumbent Pradip Kumar Rawat having been on the job only for a month. She reached Delhi on Wednesday night. Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh is of course the chief conductor, being the main person to coordinate between the Ministry of External Affairs  and the incoming leadership.

Every aspect is being carefully decided, from accommodation to motorcades, flight clearances to seating arrangements and of course, meeting with principal interlocutors.

The seating arrangements are based on hierarchy and then on alphabetic basis, as per universal protocol norms.

In the last few days, territorial divisions had been keeping briefs ready, waiting for a likely summons to do a sudden briefing for the new leadership.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp