US says no decision yet on Donald Trump’s visit to India for 2019 Republic Day

India has invited Trump to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in 2019. If he accepts, he will be the second US president after Barack Obama to attend the parade.

india Updated: Aug 02, 2018 23:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
Donald Trump,Republic Day parade,India
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said a final decision has not been made on the invite.(PTI)

The White House on Wednesday acknowledged that India has invited US President Donald Trump to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in 2019, but said no decision has been taken at the moment.

“I know that the invitation has been extended, but I don’t believe a final decision has been made,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said in response to a question at the daily press briefing.

She added that defence secretary James Mattis and secretary of state Mike Pompeo will travel to India in September “and will begin the dialogue and the process and potential discussion for a presidential visit later in the year”.

Mattis and Pompeo will travel to New Delhi to September 6 for the inaugural 2+2 ministerial dialogue with defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.

India has invited Trump to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in 2019. If he accepts, he will be the second US president to do so — his predecessor Barack Obama was the first to attend the Republic Day parade.

When first reports of the invitation emerged some weeks ago, a spokesperson for Trump’s National Security Council had said to Hindustan Times: “We have nothing to announce at this time”.

That language is generally described as officialese for saying work is on but no dates yet, according to former White House staffers who spoke only on background to explain how presidential visits are arranged.

First Published: Aug 02, 2018 23:28 IST