India invites US President Donald Trump as Chief Guest on Republic Day

India invites US President Donald Trump as Chief Guest on Republic Day
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NEW DELHI - US President Donald Trump has received an invitation from the Indian government to be the Chief Guest for next year’s Republic Day celebrations, the Times of India reported on Friday.

The invite, which was sent in April this year, is expected to receive a positive response from the United States. The invite was followed up with several rounds of diplomatic engagement over the issue.

For his sheer unpredictability, Trump’s presence here, if he indeed chooses to come, promises to be even more dramatic than the one by his predecessor Barack Obama who was Modi’s first R-Day guest in 2015.

Recently, visiting US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who also holds a cabinet rank in Washington, had a tough message for India to join the sanction regime against Iran. The message has sent India 's foreign policy mandarins struggling to balance relations with Trump Administration and Iran — where the country has strategic and energy interests.

Haley earlier advised allies to rethink while choosing business partners. "I think as a friend, India should also decide if this is a country they want to continue doing business with," she said. She also admitted telling PM Modi to cut Iranian oil use. "There's a will, a political will from both sides to figure out how to make this work," she added.

"Prime Minister Modi very much understands where we are with Iran, he didn't question it, he didn't criticise it, he understood it and he also understands that (India's) relationship with the US is strong and important and needs to stay that way," said the US envoy.

Maintaining that the US seeks a productive relationship with China, she, however, said her country doesn't share the same democratic values, thereby limiting this relationship. She said the US supports India 's entry into the global nuclear club because India is a democracy and has a responsible leader.

New Delhi