News / Asia

Modi Sworn in as India's Prime Minister

  • India's new prime minister Narendra Modi signs after taking the oath of office at the presidential palace in New Delhi, May 26, 2014.
  • Indians gather to watch the swearing in ceremony of their new prime minister Narendra Modi on a large television by a street corner, New Delhi, May 26, 2014.
  • Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif waves as he arrives to attend the swearing in ceremony of India’s prime minister elect Narendra Modi in New Delhi, May 26, 2014.
  • Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai disembarks from his plane upon his arrival at the airport in New Delhi, May 26, 2014.
  • Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa waves upon his arrival at the airport in New Delhi, May 26, 2014.
  • Indian Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi walks at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial after paying the flower tribute at Rajghat, ahead of his swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi, May 26, 2014.
  • Indian Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi scatters rose petals at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Rajghat ahead of his swearing-in ceremony in New Delhi, India, May 26, 2014.
  • Supporters of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wearing masks of Indian Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi participate in a celebration rally ahead of his swearing-in ceremony, Mumbai, May 26, 2014.
  • Bharatiya Janata Party supporters wearing masks of India’s next prime minister Narendra Modi, celebrate his inauguration in Mumbai, May 26, 2014.
Narendra Modi Sworn In as India's Prime Minister
VOA News
Narendra Modi has been sworn in as the new prime minister of India, after an election in which his Bharatiya Janata Party ousted the Congress party, which has led the world's largest democracy for the past 10 years.

Modi took the oath of office Monday at a ceremony in New Delhi attended by world leaders and dignitaries, including Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.  

It is the first time in the troubled history of the rival nations a Pakistani leader has attended the swearing-in ceremony of an Indian prime minister.
Narendra Modi
  • Sworn in as prime minister on May 26, 2014
  • Member of main Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party
  • As a child, helped his father sell tea at a railway station
  • Became chief minister of Gujarat state in 2001
  • Criticized for handling of deadly Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002
  • 63 years old; unmarried; has no children

The leaders of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal and Mauritius also attended.  Bangladesh, whose prime minister is travelling to Japan, was represented by its speaker of parliament.  

The unprecedented overtures are being seen as a signal the new Indian leader will focus on improving ties with neighboring countries.

Analysts said Sharif's presence at the inauguration could signal an easing of tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

As a goodwill gesture, the Pakistani prime minister on Sunday ordered the release of more than 150 Indian prisoners, mostly fishermen.  Both countries often detain each other's fishermen for illegally fishing in the other country's waters.

Modi led the BJP to a landslide victory against the Congress Party giving it the first one-party majority in parliament in 30 years.  That means it can create a government without forming a coalition with regional leaders. 

Controversy has swirled around Modi since 2002 when Hindu-Muslim rioting erupted in Gujarat state, which he has governed since 2001.  More than 1,000 people died in the violence.  India's Supreme Court cleared Modi of charges that he incited the violence.  

Modi, who is 63, has since cast himself as an able administrator and decisive leader who has energized the economy of Gujarat and holds the promise of doing the same for the rest of the country.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
by: salome w peter from: kenya
May 26, 2014 3:38 PM
Congratulation Mr Modi,i wish you success in your new field.Those who chose you have high hope in you.Do not let them down. God will journey with you if you have positive intentions towards your Country.

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