NEW DELHI (AP) — Narendra Modi (nah-REN’-drah MOH’-dee) has taken the oath of office as India’s new prime minister.
The ceremony at the sprawling presidential palace in New Delhi was made more historic by the presence of the leader of archrival Pakistan. For the first time, India invited leaders from across South Asia to attend the inauguration. Heads of government from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Maldives, Nepal and Afghanistan attended, and Bangladesh was represented by the speaker of its Parliament.
Analysts say the presence of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (nah-WAHZ’ shah-REEF’) signals 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 tomorrow.
Modi and his Hindu nationalist BJP 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.
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