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Leaders from neighbouring nations and the Indian Ocean region are poised to gather as distinguished guests at the eagerly awaited ceremony of BJP leader Narendra Modi taking oath as the country’s Prime Minister on Sunday evening.

He will equal Jawaharlal Nehru’s record of becoming the prime minister of India the third time after completing two full terms. This gathering underscores India’s steadfast commitment to its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and the visionary ‘SAGAR’ initiative.

These leaders include heads of Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Nepal and Bhutan.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in an official statement on Saturday said, “President of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe; President of Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu; Vice-President of Seychelles, Ahmed Afif; Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina; Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth; Prime Minister of Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’; and Prime Minister of Bhutan, Tshering Tobgay, have accepted the invitation to attend.”

Of these distinguished guests, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina and Vice President of Seychelles, Ahmed Afif arrived yesterday and the remaining of them will arrive today.

Narendra Modi will be sworn in as Prime Minister for the third consecutive term today at 7:15 pm.

Highlighting the significance of the event, the MEA emphasised, “The visit of the leaders to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister 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.”

After the ceremony President Droupadi Murmu will host a banquet for the dignitaries at Rashtrapati Bhavan this evening.

A source familiar with the matter told ANI that because of the ensuing G7 meeting in Italy, the guest list has been kept compact as PM Modi will also leave to attend the summit in Italy later in the week.

Seating arrangements has been done for over 8,000 guests who will be attending the ceremony. The list has been prepared and invitation cards have been sent. The guest list includes labourers, lawyers, doctors, artists, cultural performers, and influencers.

There were speculations that the oath ceremony might be held at Kartavya Path but because of ongoing weather conditions, it was confined to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Around 1,100 traffic police personnel of the Delhi Police have been deployed and an advisory has been issued to the public for the traffic movement and route arrangements have been made for the delegates as part of the arrangements for Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi’s oath ceremony on Sunday.

PM Modi’s invitation to neighbouring leaders reflects India’s ongoing efforts to engage with countries in the region. In 2014, he convened leaders from SAARC nations, and in 2019, he invited countries from the BIMSTEC group.

Before the announcement of the prime minister’s swearing-in schedule, PM Modi met with President Droupadi Murmu and staked his claim to form the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government under his leadership.

“Exercising powers vested in her under Article 75 (1) of the Constitution of India, President Droupadi Murmu today appointed @narendramodi to the office of Prime Minister of India,” the President’s office posted on X.

PM Modi’s leadership of the NDA was formally endorsed, with crucial support from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Janata Dal (United).

The NDA commands a strong position in the Lok Sabha with 293 MPs out of 543. Among these, the BJP holds the largest share with 240 seats. In the 2019 elections, the BJP secured a total of 303 seats.