Asia-PacificIndia

Modi sworn in as India’s 15th prime minister

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Narendra Modi has been sworn in as India’s fifteenth prime minister during a ceremony in the capital, New Delhi.

The 63-year-old, whose right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party won the first parliamentary majority in three decades on May 16, took the oath of office at the presidential palace on Monday.

“I, Narendra Damodardas Modi, do swear in the name of God that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India,” he said at the ceremony conducted by President Pranab Mukherjee and attended by leaders of India’s neighbors, including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

In a statement posted on the prime minister’s website shortly after he took the oath, Modi vowed to forge a “strong, developed and inclusive India.”

He is expected to unveil a sharply reduced government of 45 members, a cut of 26 from that of his predecessor Manmohan Singh, in an effort to accelerate decision-making and slash India’s infamous bureaucracy.

Modi and Sharif, who is the first Pakistani leader to attend such an event since the independence of the two neighbors in 1947, are set to hold formal talks on Tuesday.

Sharif described his visit to India as “a chance to reach out to each other” and “a great opportunity,” in an interview with NDTV news channel before the inauguration.

Analysts consider Modi’s invitation to Sharif to attend the ceremony as a move aimed at easing the tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, which have fought three wars over the past six decades.

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