Mr. Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony for his second term as the Prime Minister of India was held today (30th May 2019).
PM Modi, known for his diplomacy skills, had invited the leaders from the BIMSTEC countries, Kyrgyz Republic and Mauritius. He had invited the leaders of the SAARC in the swearing-in ceremony for his 1st term as a PM.
What is SAARC?
SAARC stands for South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation. It was created in 1985 to evolve a regional cooperative framework.
It has eight member countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and has nine Observers.
The significance of SAARC started diminishing when India had blamed Pakistan of carrying out the Uri attacks in 2016. Some countries of the SAARC supported New Delhi’s call for boycott of the SAARC summit that was scheduled in Islamabad in November 2016.
SAARC has been on its death bed since then.
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BIMSTEC stands for Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. All of its 7 members – India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, and Thailand are adjacent to the Bay of Bengal.
The leaders invited from each of the BIMSTEC countries were:
Bangladesh : President Hamid
Bhutan : Prime Minister Tshering
Myanmar : President Win Myint
Nepal : Prime Minister Oli
Thailand : Special Envoy Grisada Boonrach
Sri Lanka : President Sirisena
The prime objective of this regional organisation is to develop technological and economic cooperation in the Southeast Asian countries as well as along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.
technological and economic cooperation in the Southeast Asian countries as well as along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.
BIMSTEC has economic, diplomatic and strategic importance.
Economic importance: BIMSTEC countries, as a whole, host over 22% of the world’s population and have a combined GDP of approximately $2.7 trillion.
Diplomatic importance: Engaging with this regional organisation also supplements India’s foreign policies: ‘Act East’ and ‘Neighbourhood First’.
Strategic Importance: Bay of Bengal is a funnel to the Malacca strait (a choke point) which is important to the East Asia as well as to the Middle East.
It won’t be wrong to say that BIMSTEC rose to prominence after the fall of SAARC, specifically post Uri attack, after India deliberately tried to isolate Pakistan. BIMSTEC includes all the countries of the SAARC except Maldives, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Mauritius and Kyrgyz Republic
The Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth was invited. He is of Indian origin. By inviting him, India has given a psychological boost to all the Indian Diasporas round the world and sent the message that their Indian roots are significant to India.
As of the Kyrgyz Republic President Jeenbekov was invited. The Central Asian country will be heading the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) this year. SCO is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance which is important to India. Its members are China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, India and Pakistan.
There is no doubt that the guest list of the swearing-in ceremony was well calibrated. It is likely to form the base of the Indian foreign policy for the next 5 years.
We are now left anticipating for the list of Cabinet Ministers, along with their portfolios, who will assist PM Modi in his second term.
Image Credits: Google Images
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