Why were the heads of states of neighboring countries invited to the swearing-in ceremony of Modi government? Know what is Neighborhood First and SAGAR vision

Ananya Shroff
4 Min Read

New Delhi: The arrival of foreign guests continues for the swearing-in ceremony of the Modi government. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Seychelles Vice President Ahmed Afeef have reached India, while the rest of the guests are awaited. India has formally said that Maldives President Dr. Mohammad Muizzu, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Seychelles Vice President Ahmed Afeef, Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jagannath, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' and Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay have been invited to Prime Minister Modi's swearing-in ceremony.

India is pursuing Neighbourhood First Policy
Apart from attending the swearing-in ceremony, all these foreign guests will also attend a banquet hosted by President Draupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday evening. The Ministry of External Affairs has said that India is committed to advancing its Neighborhood First Policy and SAGAR vision with these countries. SAGAR means Security and Development for All in the Region… Vision. Actually, the first glimpse of SAGAR vision was seen during PM Modi's visits to Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka in the year 2015. Through this vision, India has been emphasizing on strengthening its economic and security relations along with strengthening the maritime security capabilities of neighboring countries. This initiative further strengthens areas like information sharing, infrastructure development and coastal surveillance.

India is conducting military exercises with many countries
External Affairs Minister Jaishankar has defined this vision as a positive, democratic and egalitarian vision. Under this vision, India has been conducting military exercises with Japan, the US, Bangladesh and Indonesia. In the year 2020, India used Mission Sagar for humanitarian assistance during the Covid pandemic. Under which medical help was delivered to countries like Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles by sea. Under this vision, the government is also eyeing the benefits of the blue economy, which includes job creation, standing on its own feet in the energy sector as well as connectivity with neighbors. The importance of this vision also lies in the fact that India has been looking at it as a response to China's dominance in the Indian Ocean region. China continues to implement its policy of hegemony by making the Maritime Silk Route a part of the BRI.

India also has an eye on Bangladesh's Mongla port
There is also a discussion that after managing Iran's Chabahar and Myanmar's Sittwe port, India is also eyeing the management of Bangladesh's Mongla port. This can prove to be important from a business and strategic point of view. There is also speculation that this issue can be raised in bilateral talks between Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina and PM Modi. It is believed that if this happens, this strategically important port will help India to protect its 7500 km long coastline. It is also being seen as a counter to China's growing dominance in this region.

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