NEW DELHI: The guests have started arriving. Just four days after the invitations went out to foreign leaders to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Narendra Modi, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay and Bangladesh Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhary arrived on Sunday.
A day after President Pranab Mukherjee invited Modi to form the next government, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh had sent out invitation letters to her counterparts in SAARC, plus Mauritius, to request their leaders to attend the swearing-in ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan forecourt on May 26.
The first to arrive at 12.30 pm at Indira Gandhi National Airport was Bangladesh Speaker Chaudhary, who is third in her country’s order of precedence. She is representing Bangladesh, as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is on a state visit to Japan, the largest bilateral donor. The speaker was received by Sripriya Ranganathan, joint secretary in charge of Bangladesh-Myanmar desk at the Ministry of External Affairs.
She was followed by Bhutan Prime Minister Tobgay, who was received by senior MEA official and former chief of protocol Ruchira Kamboj.
Meanwhile, a 14-member advance team arrived ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s arrival on Monday. This will be his first-ever bilateral visit to India, even though he had twice held the post of Prime Minister in the past. He had also been the last one to confirm his presence, with his acceptance conveyed only on Saturday morning.
The team comprising officials from Pakistan PM’s office crossed over onland through Wagah border and then took a flight from Amritsar for Delhi.
All the other six foreign leaders will start arriving by Monday morning, beginning with Mauritius Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam. The last one to reach Delhi would be Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom at 2 pm, just four hours before the ceremony begins.
Sharif will be accompanied by a delegation comprising his Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry among others.