Narendra Modi becomes Indian PM as Pakistani leader watches

May 26, 2014 | By | Reply More

May 26, – Narendra Modi took the oath of office as India’s new prime minister at the sprawling presidential palace on Monday, a moment made more historic by the presence of the leader of archrival Pakistan.

hromedia Narendra Modi becomes Indian PM as Pakistani leader watches intl. news4Modi’s inauguration is the first to which India invited leaders from across South Asia. Heads of government from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Maldives, Nepal and Afghanistan attended, and Bangladesh was represented by the speaker of its Parliament.

But most eyes remained on Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose visit could signal a thaw in relations between the often hostile neighbors.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee administered the oath to Modi and his Cabinet as thousands of guests, including politicians, business leaders and movie stars, watched. Outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was seated next to Sharif.

Analysts said Sharif’s presence signaled an easing of tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors. Pakistan and India have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.

Modi and Sharif are to hold formal talks on Tuesday.

Sharif called his visit “a chance to reach out to each other” and “a great opportunity,” in an interview with NDTV news channel.

“Both governments have a strong mandate. This could help in turning a new page in our relations,” he added.

Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won 282 seats in the 543-member lower house of Parliament, well ahead of the 272 it needed for a majority. Analysts say that gives Modi a free hand in choosing his priorities without being constrained by coalition partners.

Modi promised during the campaign that his goals would be good governance, job creation and fighting corruption, a message that struck a chord with voters.

Economic growth has plummeted in the past few years as inflation has risen and exports have declined. The former Congress party-run government became paralyzed by corruption scandals, internal feuding and an inability to deal with the stumbling economy and deep-rooted problems with poverty, infrastructure and education.

In an early indication that he plans to streamline the government, Modi’s office said several ministries, especially those dealing with infrastructure, will be combined to make them more efficient and reduce red tape.

Minutes after Modi was sworn in, he posted a message on his official website saying that along with the people of India and the world his government would work to “script a glorious future for India.”

Press journalist for HRO media Saurav Nag contributed to this report.

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Category: International

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