U.S. President Trump speaks to India’s PM Narendra Modi during the latter’s visit to the U.S. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

With India’s Republic Day Invite To Trump, Is There A Thaw In Indo-U.S. Ties?

Ties between India and the United States, which have see-sawed in the recent past, may be on the upswing again, with India inviting President Donald Trump as chief guest for the next year’s Republic Day.

The White House confirmed the receipt of the invitation. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, “I know that the invitation has been extended, but I don’t believe a final decision has been made.”

Trade has been a flashpoint in Indo-U.S ties. The two nations have slugged it out under various fora, including the World Trade Organisation, over issues ranging from tariffs to subsidies. To revive bilateral ties, India may also extend the Aug. 4 deadline for the imposition of retaliatory import tariffs on 29 items.

Former Ambassador to the U.S. Meera Shankar said there’s been a thaw in the ties in the last few weeks. “The U.S. clearing the sale of armed drones to India, amendment of Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act which will lead to waivers from sanctions and India’s upgradation status as a trading partner are indicators of the same.”

Also read: India May Extend Deadline For Imposition Of Higher Tariffs On U.S. Imports

List of Chief Guests At Republic Day Parade under the Modi government
List of Chief Guests At Republic Day Parade under the Modi government

This also includes Sarah Sanders confirming that the 2+2 dialogue—which was postponed twice—is back on track. The invitation is thus, Meera said, a significant development. “The Republic Day’s chief guest always comes from a country with whom we value ties. It’s important that President Trump visits India.”

Former secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Ajay Dua said conflicts on the trade front between the two nations are hardly new. “Unlike with China or the E.U., India’s trade deficit with the U.S. is not only in the goods side, but also in services,” Dua said, adding that such disputes are unlikely to disrupt ties.

Watch the discussion here: