US President Trump turns down India’s invitation for Republic Day

PM Modi and US President Trump
PM Modi and US President Trump, Photo IANS

Oct 28  : A major setback to Narendra Modi’s diplomacy as U.S. President Donald Trump has turned down India’s invitation to be the chief guest at the 70th Republic Day celebrations in 2019. The decision has been communicated in writing to National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval by US authorities , as per reports.

The letter received by Doval reportedly do not specify the reason for tuning down India’s request But Trump has to deliver the State of the Union Address to the joint session of the US Congress, around the same time.This shows that India-US ties are not in good shape, despite the good rapport of PM Modi with President Trump.

But the fact of the matter is, Washington is upset after India inked a USD 5 billion deal to purchase S-400 Triumf air defence system from Moscow. The mega deal was sealed in New Delhi during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin for the annual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

President Donald Trump has said “India will soon find out. Aren’t they?” about his decision on the punitive CAATSA sanctions after India signed a USD 5 billion deal to purchase the much-vaunted S-400 air defence system from Russia.”India is going to find out, he reiterated on Wednesday in response to India specific question. Asked when, he said, “You will see. Sooner than you think.

Under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA sanctions, which was amended early this year, only Trump has the authority for the presidential waiver to India on weapons deal with sanctions-hit Russia.

Moreover, India has asserted that  despite US sanctions on Iran and New Delhi will continue to buy oil from oil-producing country.

 White House press secretary Sarah Sanders in August had confirmed that Trump has received an invite to visit India. “I know that the invitation has been extended, but I do not believe that a final decision has been made,” Sanders told reporters then.

US in August said that it got an invitation from the Indian authorities but a decision was not taken then. However, the decision was communicated to Indian authorities recently with only three months left the ceremony.

But now New Delhi will have to look for another foreign dignitary  to find a chief guest for the R-day ceremony.

By Arti Bali

 

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