2nd LD Writethru: Narendra Modi sworn in as India's new PM
NEW DELHI, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Narendra Modi, the son of a tea- seller, on Monday created history by becoming Indian new prime minister in a grand ceremony attended by his counterpart from arch- rival Pakistan, along with heads of state of other South Asian nations.
The 63-year-old hardline Hindu nationalist leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party was administered the oath of office as the country's 15th prime minister by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan (the latter's official residence) in the national capital.
Some 44 ministers who were also sworn in along with Modi included BJP President Rajnath Singh and top leaders like Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, who will be given Home, Finance, External Affairs and Defense, which together form the Cabinet Committee of Security.
Minutes after being sworn-in, Modi assured to forge a "strong and inclusive" India. "As we devote ourselves to take India's development journey to newer heights, we seek your support, blessings and active participation," he said in a statement published on the Prime Minister's website.
He added "Together we will script a glorious future for India. Let us together dream of a strong, developed and inclusive India that actively engages with the global community to strengthen the cause f world peace and development."
More than 4,000 people who were invited to witness the event at Rashtrapati Bhawan included the heads of state of eight neighboring nations, including Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai.
Modi's predecessor and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, a number of top industrialists and Bollywood actors were also present at the swearing-in telecast live on news channels across India.
Modi's 95-year-old mother Hiraben could not make it to the Indian capital and she watched her son being sworn in as the prime minister on TV at her home in Gandhinagar, the capital of the western state of Gujarat, which Modi ruled for the last 12 years before resigning last week to take up the top job.
Modi on Sunday pledged that he would keep a lean Cabinet with a focus on "minimum government and maximum governance".