U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hug during a White House meeting in June 2017. Image Credit: AP

Donald Trump, president of the United States of America, has reportedly declined India’s invite to be the chief guest for the annual Indian Republic Day parade held in New Delhi.  While an official statement hasn’t been given, several media reports have surfaced about the denial being sent in the form of a letter where Trump allegedly cites ‘domestic commitments’ on the same day as the reason for not being able to make it to India for the events on January 26, 2019.

The invite was sent to the US president in April this year, however, the US authorities had said that the final decision would be taken only after the inaugural 2+2 dialogue in September.

What is the 2+2 talk?

The dialogue is called '2+2' because two appointed ministers from each country meet to discuss issues of strategic and security interest. The talks took place in September this year, with US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defence secretary Jim Mattis representing the United States of America.

What happened later?

Prior to the 2+2 talks the US had made clear that, there were two points that India 'shouldn’t ideally do'. One was the missile defence deal with Russia and the other dealt with oil imports from Iran. The US had warned of sanctions on all countries still importing oil from Iran after November 4.

In October, however, Indian and Russia officially signed a $ 5.2 billion deal for S-400 air defence system to be delivered by 2020. This was done during Putin’s two-day visit to India.

The Iranian oil import situation hasn’t completely stopped as of now, even though large business importers have cut down in hopes of a sanction waiver. Iran is India’s third-largest supplier of oil. On September 7, Reuters reported the Iranian foreign minister as saying that ‘India was committed to buying Iranian oil’.

‘Domestic commitments’ for Trump

One of the commitments Trump reportedly cited is his State of the Union address. However, the date of this address is said to be never fixed and can be scheduled anytime between January 22 and the first week of February. In 2015, Barack Obama postponed his presidential address for the State of the Union to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations as the chief guest.