United States President Donald Trump is unlikely to visit India in January next year as the chief guest for Republic Day celebrations. According to highly placed sources, while Washington has acknowledged the invitation sent by New Delhi, it is reliably learnt that the visit may not happen, owing to his other engagements during that period.
Sources in the know said that Mr Trump’s India visit in the near future is currently not on the radar of the US administration.
The government is keen to invite Mr Trump as chief guest for 2019 Republic Day function, which would be the NDA regime’s last before the Lok Sabha polls. It had invited then US President Barack Obama as chief guest during the Republic Day function in 2015.
Considering the fact that there have been raging differences between India and the US over trade issues, the bilateral ties are currently going through a “uneasy” phase and, therefore, this could also be a reason behind keeping the visit on the backburner, sources indicated. Also India’s relations with Iran and its proposed pact with Moscow over the S-400 defence missile system have also added to the complexities, sources pointed out.
India is learnt to have moved closer towards acquiring five advanced S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems from Russia despite reservations from the US.
Though India has started looking at other alternatives, after US asked it to cut oil imports from Iran, New Delhi’s pact with Moscow for buying the long range S-400 defence missile system could further make relations with Washington ‘difficult’, observers say.
Also the increased import duty on America’s Harley-Davidson motorbikes, imposed by India, has turned out to be a thorny issue between the two nations.