India Expects Trump’s Response to Republic Day Invite After 2+2 Dialogue in September

News18 reported that the specific invitation for R-day was made by the PM in Manila to President Trump when they met on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in November, 2017.

New Delhi, July 17: India is expecting a response from US President Donald Trump to the formal invite for next year’s Republic Day celebrations, after the 2+2 dialogue between the two sides. The crucial dialogue between the defence and foreign ministers that has been postponed twice, giving rise to speculation that all was not well, is expected to be held in New Delhi on the September 6.

The talks were last slated for this month – July 6 — but were suddenly postponed due to ‘scheduling issues’. It was later revealed that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was travelling to Pyongyang on the same date. However, it did not go down well with the Indian side and hence efforts were made to look for fresh dates swiftly.

It later emerged that India had also extended a formal invite to President Trump to be the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade in 2019. The invite was formally extended in April. But sources revealed that an acceptance is yet to be communicated from the US side.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended an invite to President Trump to visit India in his first meet on June 25-26, 2017 in Washington DC, the specific invitation for R-day was made by the PM in Manila to Trump when they met on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in November, 2017.

Meanwhile, dismissing that the invite appears amiss at this juncture when there are several outstanding issues between the two sides, a source said that, “these differences are not that big.”

In fact, Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Sarna while speaking at the annual leadership summit at the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) in Washington DC on July 12 said, “We were always democracies, we always had commonalities, but we were a little off-kilter, we were often talking past each other or at each other, but not talking to each other. I think a number of things—a number of realizations, a changing world, a much changed India, a much more receptive United States—I think that all has brought us to a point where we are truly strategic partners, both in defence and security terms, trade, economy and investment terms.” This gave an indication that despite all the sticking points, the two sides are hopeful of resolving them.

One of the important areas of immediate concern for India is the imposition of sanctions on Iran and pressure on allies to cut oil imports to zero. A team from the US will be in India this week for an “engagement in this regard”, according to sources.

While hoping for a waiver, a senior source said that, “we will act in our national interest.” Sources also dismissed reports that oil imports from Iran are already being cut by India.

A source said “relations are not personality driven” indicating that even as India is learning to deal with an unpredictable US President

Donald Trump they believe that foreign policy will continue to be determined more by geopolitical and bilateral requirements and engagements.

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