Narendra Modi's swearing-in as Prime Minister at the fore-court of majestic Rashtrapati Bhawan was today witnessed by South Asian leaders including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom were also present at the ceremony attended by about over 3000 guests.
Bangladesh was represented by Speaker Shirin Chaudhury as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was on a visit to Japan.
This is the first time that the heads of state and government of SAARC nations were invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony of an Indian Prime Minister, a move which is seen by political observers here as a significant initiative.
Besides the SAARC nations, Mauritian Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam also attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Sharif is accompanied by a delegation comprising his Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry among others.
63-year-old Modi, who led BJP to an astounding victory in the Lok Sabha polls, was administered oath of office by President Pranab Mukherjee at a glittering ceremony attended by around 3,000 guests including outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, besides leaders of various other parties and Chief Ministers of a number of states.
Modi will have "short duration bilateral meetings" with all the SAARC leaders tomorrow.
It was the third time that swearing-in ceremony was held at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Swearing-in of Chandrashekhar in 1990 and Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998 were held at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan and saw an attendance of 1,200 to 1,300.
Later, the foreign leaders shook hand with Modi and exchanged pleasantries. The leaders along with Modi and the President and the Vice President posed for a group photograph.
Modi was seen thanking the foreign leaders for coming to the swearing-in
"History is made!!" External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin tweeted while posting a photograph of the leaders along with Modi, President and Vice President.