Even as Narendra Modi invited all heads of state of South Asian countries to attend his swearing-in ceremony on Monday, the press in these countries are more than a little curious about what policies he is likely to adopt towards them.

The Daily Ittefaq and Prothom Olo in Bangladesh both picked up a Business Standard report that Modi’s first foreign visit is likely to be to Dhaka, where he is expected to negotiate a water-sharing agreement related to the Teesta river. Prothom Olo, however, pointed out that Mamata Banerjee had not been able to settle the Teesta issue because of opposition to it in her home state of West Bengal, and hoped that with Modi’s majority, this problem would be easier to resolve.

In the English publication Daily Star, Retired Brigadier General Shahedul Anam Khan wrote of the slight absurdity of seeing both leading parties in Bangladesh congratulating Modi after the results. Sheikh Hasina, he said, was the first foreign leader to call Modi. “While the hurry on the part of the AL [Awami League] and BNP [Bangladesh Nationalist Party] leaders to congratulate Modi may have appeared a tad ridiculous, that too is understandable,” he wrote. “After all, Modi is the new kid on the block whom everyone wants to befriend.”

Khan hoped that the new Indian government will be more neutral to Bangladesh than the previous one. He claimed that his country’s election in January had been fixed, and that the Bangladesh Awami League, under Hasina, would not have won without Congress support. “What one would want to know, however, is whether the Modi win indicates the abnegation of the inclusive religious and cultural ethos, notwithstanding the cleavages, that had defined India so long, or an affirmation of the deep influence of religion and religious ideology on politics,” he said.

Meanwhile, speculation was also rife in Pakistan about Modi's plans.

In its editorial on Modi’s win, the Express Tribune noted the implications of his majority on India’s minorities. While noting Modi lieutenant Amit Shah’s call for revenge in Muzaffarnagar during the election campaign, and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Giriraj Singh’s assertion that all Modi critics should go to Pakistan, the paper said, “Despite the inertia, India’s coalition governments at least guaranteed a measure of protection against the whims of the centre. Without any regional parties catering to the interests of minorities like the Dalits and Muslims, and also of backward castes, there is a lot of responsibility on the BJP to make sure that minorities are not left behind on the BJP’s march to progress.”

In Dawn, IA Rehman spoke of the collapse of India's liberals and the left. “They did recite the secular mantras but their response to religious revivalism betrayed a mix of fear and opportunism,” he wrote. “They displayed neither the will nor the skills needed to prevent the youth from taking the communalist path.”

He considered the possible implications of the the left’s diminished role: India's democracy "will find authority freed of the kind of sobering counsel a pluralist democracy cannot do without. Overconfidence in the wisdom of a small cabal could create risks New Delhi will need to tackle dispassionately.”

Further south, Lynn Ockersz writing for The Island, advised her government to wait and watch. “We are unlikely to see any substantive changes to India’s Sri Lanka policy under the Modi administration, although there could be a greater sensitivity in New Delhi to those matters that cause Sri Lanka some special discomfiture, in relation to our conflict,” she wrote, even as she pointed out that Indo-Pak relations improved greatly under the last BJP government, and that they would be unlikely to want to antagonise other neighbours either.

The Daily Mirror also wrote of differing opinions between the government and main opposition United National Party on the implications of Modi's election on Sri Lanka's Tamils. The government, it seems, thinks Modi's majority will neutralise his need to appease Tamil politician Jayalalithaa, which means Sri Lanka can rest easy on the issue of Tamil rights and an Eelam or homeland. However, the UNP still maintains that she must not be ignored.

The UNP sent a congratulatory note to the Daily Mirror, praising the power of franchise over politicians – something that seems even more relevant now because they on Wednesday filed a no confidence against the ruling coalition, but could not pass it.