India has handed over a pre-invite to the White House to find out if it is convenient for President Donald Trump to pay a visit in January to be chief guest at the Republic Day celebration, said a government official who did not want to be identified There has been no response yet from the White House, the official added.
Despite repeated attempts, there was no formal response to this from the external affairs ministry.
Finding out whether it’s convenient for a potential Republic Day chief guest to visit India around the occasion is part of the regular drill. A pre-invite is followed by a formal invitation if the dignitary says yes.
If Trump accepts, he would be the second US president after Barack Obama to be the chief guest at Republic Day celebrations. Obama was the chief guest on Republic Day in 2015.
Meanwhile, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday that India’s first 2+2 dialogue with the US between their foreign and defence ministers, which was postponed this month, would now take place in the first week of September.
“The 2+2 dialogue with the US is to happen in the first week of September. The agenda will be to develop and strengthen strategic defence cooperation and to follow on with what had transpired during the meeting with US defence secretary Jim Mattis,” the minister said.