Among chief ministers of various states, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao have accepted the invitation for the grand event hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, "Modi's "internal politics" does not permit him to extend an invitation to his Pakistani counterpart." He said, a meeting for the sake of dialogue to find a solution to the Kashmir issue, as well as Siachen and Sir Creek disputes, would have been a significant measure
Last time, Modi had invited the SAARC leaders, and then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's attendance had raised hopes of a new beginning in the bilateral ties. This time, SAARC's exclusion is clearly aimed at keeping Pakistan out of New Delhi's engagement with its neighbours.
PM Modi in the recent BIMSTEC summit held in Kathmandu had requested the member states to join the joint military exercise, which is going to be followed by a conclave of army chiefs of the countries in BIMSTEC.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a multilateral grouping of seven countries comprising India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.