Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to depute one of his ministers to attend the swearing-in of Nawaz Sharif as Pakistan Prime Minister, expected to take place on June 5.
According to sources, the stature and seniority of the minister would be decided early next week once there is clarity on the nature of the ceremony.
It is believed that at one stage New Delhi was worried at the prospect of Mr. Sharif being sworn-in on May 28.
“It marks the anniversary of testing of nuclear weapons by Pakistan. It would have been a bit odd for a minister to be present at the ceremony on such a day,” sources said.
The Indian side is being cautious in its approach to the unfolding scenario after the massive victory of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led by Mr. Sharif. While his positive tone on relations with India is to be appreciated, the attitude of New Delhi to the regime will be guided by its ability to deliver on promises.
Interestingly, Dr. Singh, while briefing journalists on board his special aircraft which took him on visits to Japan and Thailand, chose not to answer a question on whether he would visit Pakistan before the end of this year.
“I rang up Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the very first day when the election results were coming out. I conveyed my congratulations to him and I reciprocated his sentiments that India and Pakistan relations should move forward and that I also invited him to visit India. He also invited me to visit Pakistan. There is an invitation from Government of Pakistan for me to visit Pakistan.
“There is no firm decision on its side; no dates have been fixed. We would certainly like to have good neighbourly relations with Pakistan. It has been consistently our policy that [in] India-Pakistan relations, we should deal with all the outstanding issues. We are committed to resolving them in a peaceful manner. That is also the sentiment which was reciprocated by Sharif,” he said.