US will not attend Modi's inauguration

Washington though welcomes more dialogue between Pakistan and India as a "positive step."

Afp May 22, 2014
The leader of Opposition (Congress), Shankersinh Waghela (L) gifts a traditional Khes or a shawl to Indian Prime Minister-Elect, Narendra Modi during a special farewell session of Gujarat Assembly in Gandhinagar. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday welcomed hopes of better ties between India and Pakistan as Indian prime minister-elect Narendra Modi invited Pakistan's premier Nawaz Sharif to his swearing-in, which the US said it will not attend.

"Broadly speaking, we welcome increased engagement between India and Pakistan and their leaders and other leaders in the region," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

More dialogue between the two neighbors "is a positive step," Psaki added.

But she revealed that as in past years Washington was not planning to attend the inauguration set for Monday.

"We don't have any plans to send a representative from the United States. It's standard for events and inaugurations in India, so it should come as no surprise," she told reporters.

Ties between Washington and New Delhi have chilled in recent months after the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York on charges of abusing her maid.

And the election of the Hindu nationalist Modi has also posed a headache for Washington, which controversially refused him a visa to visit the United States in 2005 when he was chief minister of Gujarat.

The refusal stemmed from allegations he turned a blind eye or worse to anti-Muslim riots in the western state three years earlier.

Both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have congratulated Modi on his election.

In a messages sent to Kerry on his Twitter account, Modi talked about strengthening relations between the two democracies.


Aseem | 8 years ago | Reply

To All those who claim that only SAARC leaders have been invited, please note that Mauritius has also been invited.

gp65 | 8 years ago | Reply

@unbelievable: That is fine. Since the US leaders were not invited, declining an invitation which was never issued seems strange to say the least.

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