The new India is redefining its neighborhood, without Pakistan. For Narendra Modi’s second swearing-in ceremony as the prime minister on Thursday, May 30, the government has invited leaders from BIMSTEC countries. BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation)- Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan- as well as Kyrgyzstan, and Mauritius- all have received the invitation for Thursday’s grand event. But there is no invitation to Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan.
Subsequently, Pakistan started downplaying India’s decision not to invite Imran Khan, saying the Indian Prime Minister’s “internal politics” does not permit him to extend an invitation to his Pakistani counterpart.
Reacting to reports that India has not invited Pakistan Prime Minister Khan to Prime Minister Modi’s inauguration, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said a meeting for the sake of dialogue to find a solution to the Kashmir issue, as well as Siachen and Sir Creek disputes, would have been a significant measure instead of attending the swearing-in ceremony.
“His (Prime Minister Modi’s) entire focus (during the election campaign) was on Pakistan-bashing. It was unwise to expect that he can get rid of this narrative (soon),” Qureshi was quoted as published by Dawn news.
“India’s internal politics did not permit him to extend an invitation,” he said.
“Finding a new way (to resume dialogue) is also essential for them (India). If he (Modi) wants development of this region… the only way is to sit with Pakistan to find a solution.
“It is in the interest of Pakistan to defuse tensions… Pakistan did not create tension,” Qureshi said.
In 2014, then Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif had attended Prime Minister Modi’s swearing-in held on May 26 in New Delhi when the leaders of SAARC countries were invited.
Tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.
Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to India.
Prime Minister Modi on Thursday led his Bharatiya Janata Party to a landmark victory for a second five-year term in office, winning 303 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha. The no invitation for Imran Khan clearly shows the strong signal that India has finally become intolerant…for terrorism and for its sponsor.