In a move which is being considered one of India’s diplomatic setbacks in a long time, US President Donald Trump has turned down the invitation of attending Republic day parade as the Chief Guest. The reason cited by the Trump administration to turn down the Republic Day invite is that President Trump has other pressing engagement on the same date. Trump reportedly has to deliver the State of The Union (SOTU) address and its timing conflicts with the Republic Day celebrations.
However, it must be noted that in 2015, erstwhile US President, Barack Obama attended the Republic Day parade by postponing SOTU. The date of the address is not fixed and but has to be made between January 22 and the first week of February.
The relations between India and USA have not been the very best in recent times, with India still procuring oil from Iran despite warnings of sanctions by the US.
Besides this, US had given strong warnings to India against signing any deals with Russia for S-400 missile system. India went ahead to sign five such systems when Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the country earlier this month.
With Donald Trump’s declination, India will have to invite some other Head Of State for the Republic Day parade. It is likely that India would look to give a befitting diplomatic answer to US in coming days.
In 2016, 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.
The heads of state and government who have attended the Republic Day celebrations include Nicolas Sarkozy, Vladimir Putin, Nelson Mandela, John Major, Mohammed Khatami and Jacques China, among many others.