India had officially sent a Republic Day invite to US president Donald Trump in April this year. This invite was made public even before POTUS accepted the invitation.
However, as per latest development, Donald Trump has turned down India’s gesture of inviting him to the Republic Day Celebration Parade in January 2019.
As per media reports, the US authorities have conveyed Trump’s decision via a letter to Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor. The reason mentioned in the letter are directed towards “domestic commitments” which include a State of the Union Address around the same time. Trump has reportedly regretted his inability to make it to the event in India.
The invite was already received much earlier by the US authorities, however, they said they would only send their final response after the inaugural 2+2 dialogue which was scheduled last month. On 6th September, India and the US had held the first edition of the 2+2 dialogue in New Delhi, where long-pending Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) were discussed, along with setting up of a hotline between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman with their American counterparts.
The Iran and Russia Angle
All is not very well between India and the United States recently as the latter seems to be under a lot of pressure since India has been purchasing defense ammunitions from Russia. The ties further got strained between the two countries due to the oil purchases India continues to make from Iran.
US had earlier warned that countries dealing with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors would find automatic mention under a sweeping legislation called Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Despite this threat and future implications, India went ahead and bought the formidable S-400 surface to air missile systems from Russia.
With respect to US’ relationship with Iran, the Trump administration had also given a deadline of 4th November to all its allies to completely curtail imports of Iranian oil, thereby bringing it down zero. Once again, New Delhi has continued to import the oil much against the request from the US. Earlier State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said,
“US was reviewing India’s decision “very carefully”.
It is imperative to recall that the former US President Barack Obama had very much accepted and attended similar Republic Day invite in 2015, despite the same domestic obligations in his country then.
Trump’s rejection of this invite seems to have soured the relationships between India and the US to great extent.
As per a report by TOI, the Indian Government is extremely keen to host Trump by all means and apparently have also offered him another set of dates in the month of February 2019.