The Narendra Modi government is believed to have invited US President Donald Trump to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations next year when the country honours the Constitution that came into effect on January 26, 1950. According to a Times of India report, the invite to Trump was sent earlier in April.
The report said that an official repose from Washington is awaited, adding that the Trump administration has indicated in the past few weeks that it is favourably considering the invite.
The April invite was followed up with several rounds of diplomatic engagement over the issue, the TOI report mentioned.
If Trump agrees to visit India next year, the year country goes to polls, it will be a win-win situation for the Modi government as it will give the ruling BJP and its foreign policy an incentive after witnessing significant changes in the past few years. His visit will also be the second by a US President on the occasion of the Republic Day celebrations. The previous one was in 2015 when then President and Democratic Party leader Barack Obama travelled to New Delhi to attend the celebrations, his second visit in eight years of Presidency.
The invitation extended to the US President comes amidst growing India-Iran ties, differences over trade tariffs and proposed S-400 missile deal with Russia. The TOI report said that New Delhi feels that the US administration will grant a waiver to India from the sanctions that it has threatened to impose on Iran given that it has always figured in the priority list of Washington.
However, recent developments like the cancellation of the 2+2 meeting due to Secretary Mike Pompeo’s visit to North Korea on the same date and trade tariff differences have left unanswered questions before India.
The Indian government is pursuing the invitation with a great determination, the report said, adding that New Delhi strongly believes that differences between the two countries are not insurmountable.
The invitation to Trump is in line with PM Narendra Modi’s push to ensure the presence of heavyweights on the majestic Rajpath on January 26 every year. Obama was the first guest of the Modi government to attend the R-Day celebration in 2015. His trip was followed by then President of France Francois Holland, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and heads of the ASEAN countries.