This refers to the report, “In a first, neighbours invited for swearing-in” (May 22). India is a pivotal entity in the SAARC bloc. Therefore, Mr. Modi’s move to invite the heads of government should not really be surprising. Nevertheless, viewed separately, it is a good step in ensuring better ties. One would like to analyse it as being more a step toward better economic links than being solely about strengthening political ties. The invitees should not bother too much about geopolitical equations and make it to the function to break bread.
“Well begun is half done.” Mr. Modi’s invitation is welcome in its symbolism. It should be seen as a mere social event and it is for leaders to either reciprocate the gesture personally or through due representation. Let politics be kept aside, with all celebrating it as a victory for SAARC.
Mr. Modi’s invitation is an example of our inherited cultural and moral values and a part of our foreign policy of maintaining cordial relations. Though the hawks may not want Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mahinda Rajpaksa to be there, the fact is that this is a visionary step.
Why is the very first step by the Prime Minister-designate to build cordial relations with our neighbours being opposed by some political parties, especially in Tamil Nadu? Instead, they must view it as an initial step towards finding eventual solutions. Mr. Modi is only correcting the failed foreign policy of the UPA which was held hostage by errant allies.
While Mr. Modi’s step is innovative, he could have also thought about having the caretaker Prime Minister Manmohan Singh occupy a suitable role during the swearing-in to express the country’s gratitude to him for having served it for a decade. It will be a gesture that will elevate Mr. Modi to a higher level.
It is but childish and churlish on the part of those who have objected to the invitation to the Sri Lankan President. The occasion should be utilised to improve relations.
This is a wonderful opportunity to discuss trade and commerce. This is what will help neighbourly ties and solve many of the festering problems the region faces. All of us have a common history and we must ensure that we take steps to move forward, taking advantage of our unique geographical location.
Uttam K. Bhowmik,
Tamluk, West Bengal
The move is ill-advised as it will once again send out a signal that we are weak as far as the Sri Lankan Tamil, the Bangladeshi illegal immigrant and LoC issues are concerned. Discretion is the better part of valour. Is there any guarantee that these countries will reciprocate the gesture? As far as foreign relations are concerned, the Congress is more professional.