Has Narendra Modi invited Donald Trump to be next year’s Republic Day guest?

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India has reportedly invited United States President Donald Trump to be the chief guest for next year’s Republic Day parade and celebrations.

Photo Credit: AFP

A report in the Times of India said that while an official response from the US was still awaited, it had indicated to the Indian government in the past few weeks that the Trump administration was favourably considering the invite sent by India in April this year.

However, the report on India inviting Trump comes amidst diplomatic setback to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the US administration. Last month, the US had shocked India by announcing that it was putting on hold the first India-US strategic 2+2 Dialogue involving External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and their US counterparts. These talks were scheduled to take place on 6 July in Washington.

If this visit indeed goes through, this would be the second visit by a US President in 4 years. In 2015, his predecessor Barack Obama was Modi’s first Republic Day guest.

 

This had come just days after US President Donald Trump accused New Delhi of charging as high as 100 per cent tariff on import of American products.

Taking a dig at Modi’s foreign policy, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Omar Abdullah, had said “Other than Israel is there any country with whom PM Modi’s hugs have worked?”

Michael Kugelman, the deputy director of the American think-thank Asia Programme, too had agreed with Abdullah when he tweeted, “Safe to say that US-#India relations have taken their biggest tumble in quite some time. In the Trump era, no US relationship is foolproof.”

The 2+2 Dialogue was to have been held in April, but was postponed because of changes in the leadership of the State Department after Rex Tillerson resigned and Pompeo was in the process of taking over.

Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump had accused New Delhi of charging as high as 100 per cent tariff on import of American products.

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