New York, Sep 28 (IANS) US President Donald Trump “looks forward” to visiting India but the timing will depend on his other commitments, according to a senior State Department official.
“I am certain that President Trump looks forward to being able to visit India at an appropriate time,” Alice Wells, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, told IANS in an interview.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited Trump to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations next year.
Asked if Trump would come to the celebrations or would schedule his visit for another time, Wells said that the White House will decide taking into account “both the domestic commitments he has here in the US as well as overseas”.
Wells pointed to the steady stream of US officials who visit India as a symbol of the close ties between the two countries at the official level.
“As somebody who helps manage India relationship, it’s amazing the number of cabinet officials and high-level visitors that we have in India every month of the year,” she said.
“That too reflects the density of the ties between our countries that I think we have over 40 major dialogues that take place between our government agencies and departments.”
Modi first met Trump in Washington in 2017, and also at other multilateral meetings.
A military parade is the centre of the Republic Day celebrations and Trump has been a fan of such parades and wants the US to have one, too.
While these parades are held annually across the globe world as part of patriotic celebrations, the US does not have one.
At Trump’s suggestion a parade was scheduled for November on Veterans Day, which honours former servicemen, and this year it would coincide with the centenary of the conclusion of the First World War.
However, having never having held such a parade, the Defence Department postponed it to possibly next year.
(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)