Barack Obama will be India’s Republic Day chief guest
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited US
President Barack Obama to be the chief guest at the Republic Day 2015, an
invitation which is accepted by the American leader. “This Republic Day, we
hope to have a friend over. Invited President Obama to be the 1st US President
to grace the occasion as Chief Guest,” Modi tweeted.
Soon after PM’s tweet, the White House confirmed that
Obama will travel to India in January for the Republic Day celebration. This
will be first time any US President would be the chief guest on the Republic
Obama will meet with Modi and Indian officials to
strengthen and expand the US-India strategic partnership, the White House
American Diplomats said Obama would be first U.S.
president to visit India twice while in office. He also went in 2010.
India’s relations with Washington have flourished in
the past decade. The two countries are developing a strategic partnership
prompted by shared concerns about China's increasingly assertive behaviour in
the Asia Pacific region, although they have also had tussles over trade and
Modi met Obama on a visit to the United States in
September and they have spoken on the telephone since. Their relationship is
thought to have helped resolve a major trade spat in the World Trade
Modi was denied entry into the United States from 2005
until he was elected the India Prime Minister in May, after allegations he did
too little to stop religious riots that killed at least 1,000 people, mostly
Muslims, in his home state of Gujarat.
Modi denies any wrongdoing and the Supreme Court
investigation did not find sufficient evidence to prosecute him. India
traditionally invites a head of state to participate as chief guest for
Republic Day celebrations, which culminates in a military parade including its
nuclear capable missiles.
Much of the hardware dates back to the Soviet era,
when India had close ties with Moscow and relations with the United States were
marked by mistrust. More recent defence purchases include billions of dollars
of US-made equipment.