Narendra Modi Swearing-in
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee administering the oath of office of the Prime Minister to Mr Narendra Modi, at a Swearing-in Ceremony, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on May 26, 2014. (PIB Photo ID: 53989)Press Information Bureau, Government of India

In a ceremony attended by several world leaders and watched by millions the world over, Narendra Modi was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India on Monday.

The 63-year-old Hindu nationalist leader took his oath, along with his cabinet members, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Modi rose to power with a sweeping victory that ended the two-term rule of the grand old party of India - the Indian National Congress. Modi, the son of a tea stall-owner, has given a majority government for the first time in 25 years. Many see him as India's answer to the neo-liberal former US President Ronald Reagan or British leader Margaret Thatcher.

All seven SAARC leaders were given special invitations by Modi for his swearing-in ceremony, including Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

In a message released to fellow Indians and citizens all over the world, Modi said the election had delivered a mandate for "development, good governance and stability".

"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 of world peace and development," Modi stressed.

The pomp and ceremony unfolded as the summer evening closed in at Rashtrapati Bhavan, a colonial-era sandstone mansion with 340 rooms, in the heart of New Delhi. Looking on were some 4,000 guests, ranging from members of the defeated Nehru-Gandhi family to top industrialists, Bollywood actors, Hindu holy men and the leaders of several neighbouring countries.

Even as his 45 ministers were taking the oath after him, the Prime Minister's Office launched a new website with a short first message from Modi.

"On 16th May 2014 the people of India gave their verdict. They delivered a mandate for development, good governance and stability. As we devote ourselves to take India's development journey to newer heights, we seek your support, blessings and active participation," the new PM stated.

Modi promised in his signed message to use the website as "a very important medium of direct communication between us".


                                                                                                                         (with inputs from Reuters)