Reports Say, India Looks At Alternatives As Trump Rejects Republic Day Invite

Reports Say, India Looks At Alternatives As Trump Rejects Republic Day Invite

Reports Say, India Looks At Alternatives As Trump Rejects Republic Day Invite 

New Delhi: After the US President Donald Trump turned down its invite for the Republic Day celebration, the government is exploring options for the chief guest at the ceremony.

According to the sources, the government has in mind leaders from three countries including a head of state from a leading African nation.

"We have very little time left for deciding on the chief guest and the process will be completed soon," a source familiar with the development said.

The President of the United States declined India's invitation to be the chief guest at the parade, citing pressing engagements, including his State of The Union address, around the time India will celebrate its Republic Day.

The decline comes when Indo-US ties have witnessed some strain after India went ahead and sealed a deal with Russia to procure a batch of S-400 air defence missile systems, notwithstanding the US threat of punitive action under CAATSA.

As per the sources, India has already shortlisted names of two to three heads of state for extending invitation to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade.

Also Read: Reports: Trump Turns Down India's Invite For Republic Day Celebrations

It was also indicated by the sources that India was not exclusively looking at Trump's presence at the Republic Day celebrations and that various other options were also being explored.

Sarah Sanders, the White House Press Secretary had earlier said that Trump has received an invitation to visit India, but no decision has been taken yet.

PM Modi had invited President Trump for a bilateral visit to India during their talks in Washington in June 2017.

India invites world leaders to attend its annual Republic Day celebrations.

Few years back, the former US president Barack Obama had attended it as the chief guest which was his second visit to India as American president.

10 ASEAN countries leaders had attended this year's Republic Day celebrations.

Former French president Francois Hollande was the chief guest of the parade, in 2016 while in 2014, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the chief guest at the celebrations.

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 Chirac. 

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