India's next Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to invite all heads of governments of SAARC countries for his swearing-in ceremony on May 26.
This would include Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Modi conveyed this wish of his to President Pranab Mukherjee when he met him on Tuesday.
The President seemingly welcomed it as a 'good idea' and has passed this on to the ministry of external affairs which is now examining the proposal, sources in Rastrapati Bhavan said here.
There is no recent precedent for inviting foreign heads of governments when an Indian prime minister has been sworn in, but Modi has a penchant for doing the most unusual.
SAARC nations include Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.
Modi apparently wants to send out through this invitation a "very strong signal of a neighbour-friendly new government,” BJP sources say.
He has been engaged in some tough talk against both Pakistan and Bangladesh on issues of terrorism and illegal migration, but has later said that "election campaign and governance" are two different propositions.
The BJP has indicated that Modi will completely re-craft Indian foreign policy into a meaningful exercise after having denounced the Congress for a 'weak foreign policy'.
BJP leaders say that Modi would make clear his mind on his approach to SAARC heads of governments about the 'future direction of Indian policy' in the region.
"The message will be simple: we want to grow together. Modi will walk an extra mile for friends and do all to assuage their concerns but he will brook no nonsense and if anyone dares a Kargil, God bless the trouble-maker," said a senior leader close to Modi.
By inviting Hasina and Sri Lanka's Mahinda Rajapaksa, Modi may also signal he will not tolerate 'regional interference' on foreign policy issues, though he would seek to accommodate their views on such issues.
"But he would not tolerate the kind of arm-twisting Manmohan Singh had to put up with," the leader said.
BJP president Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday that about 3,000 people would be invited for Modi's oath-taking, which will be held in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace.
Only two other prime ministers - Chandra Shekhar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee - have been sworn in the Rashtrapati Bhavan forecourt.
Others have taken oath in the historic Durbar Hall of the palace, which can only accommodate 500 people.
The BJP, along with its allies, has won 336 seats in parliament, a more than comfortable majority.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerji is still undecided whether her MPs will attend the swearing-in ceremony. (Source: bdnews24)