Indian prime minister-elect Narendra Modi has invited his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif as well as other South Asian leaders to his swearing-in ceremony on May 26, according to BJP spokeswoman Nirmala Sitharaman.

All heads of government from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation "have been given invitations to be present at Mr Modi's swearing in", Sitharaman said on Wednesday.

A senior official from India's foreign ministry confirmed that it was examining a proposal to welcome foreign heads of governments, but said that invites had not yet been sent.

"We have not sent any invite yet. There is a proposal but we can't share the details yet," the official told AFP news agency.

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Sharif, who is himself a centre-right leader, has hailed Modi's "impressive victory" with many diplomats hoping the two men can engineer a thaw in ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

Sharif has cited his working relationship with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, India's last prime minister under the right-wing BJP, as a reason for optimism, according to diplomatic sources.

In 1999, during Sharif's second term in power, Vajpayee rode a bus to Lahore to sign a peace accord, raising the prospect of normalised ties. Three months later, the countries embarked on the Kargil conflict in the Indian-administered Kashmir.

Mutual distrust and regular skirmishes on their disputed border in Kashmir persist.

Source: Agencies