Days after US President Donald Trump declined an invitation to attend the Republic Day celebrations on January 26, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Thursday said it was engaged in discussions with the US on when he can visit India.
“High-level exchanges are an integral part of the strategic partnership between the two countries, and both sides are engaged in discussions on when Trump can visit India. Both India and the US are in talks to decide when President Trump can come to India,” PTI quoted MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar as saying.
The White House has said Trump’s inability to participate was a “purely scheduling issue”.
“US President Donald Trump is unable to participate as Chief Guest of India’s Republic Day celebrations next year due to scheduling constraints, the White House has said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited President Trump for a bilateral visit to India during their talks in Washington last year,” a White House spokesperson said on Tuesday.
It is said that the annual State of the Union (SOTU) address to both Houses of the US Congress by Trump is likely to be around the time India will celebrate its Republic Day. The SOTU is normally delivered in the last week of January or first week of February.
The spokesperson said that the US President and Modi enjoy a strong personal rapport and Trump is committed to deepening the India-US relationship. “The President enjoys a strong personal rapport with Prime Minister Modi developed through two meetings and several phone calls and remains committed to deepening the US-India strategic partnership. The President very much looks forward to meeting Prime Minister Modi again at the earliest opportunity,” the White House spokesperson said.
Modi and Trump are scheduled to attend the G-20 Summit in Argentina on November 30 and December 1. It is possible that the two leaders might meet and discuss bilateral relationship there.
India has been inviting world leaders to attend its Republic Day celebrations every year. It had invited the then US president Barack Obama in 2015. It was his second visit to India as the American president. This year, leaders from 10 ASEAN countries had attended the Republic Day celebrations. In 2016, the then French president Francois Hollande was the chief guest of the parade while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the chief guest at the celebrations in 2014.