Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump shake hands after introductions during the 'Howdy, Modi' event at NRG stadium in Houston on Sunday. (AP)
New Delhi and Washington are looking at six blocks of dates for US President Donald Trump’s likely visit to India this year, The Indian Express has learned.
The dates on the table are February 18-26, March 16-20, April 6-17, May 26-29, July 5-17 and August 10-September 7, sources said. The government is “extremely keen” to host the President before the US elections in November, and is waiting for the White House to revert on the dates, they said.
However, unlike last time, when India had invited the President to attend the Republic Day celebrations as the chief guest, Delhi has not taken the risk of tying the visit to an event. “We would like the US President to visit India this year... but we have kept it open-ended and flexible as per the schedule of the two leaders,” sources said.
Some officials suggested that the dates in February are under “active consideration”, but others said the government is aware of the complex political jousting that is currently taking place in Washington DC over the impeachment process and that block may not work out.
“The situation in DC is quite unpredictable, so we are not tying ourselves with any set of dates. Let’s see what dates suit both sides,” sources said.
India had invited Trump for the Republic Day parade last year, but the White House could not confirm the dates, which clashed with the US President’s annual state of the union address. “Last year’s refusal led many to conclude that Indo-US relations were bad. We don’t want any such impression this time,” sources said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trump are learned to have discussed the invitation during their telephone conversation on January 7.