A day after US President Donald Trump reportedly turned down India’s invite to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebration, the Congress party on Monday attacked the Centre and called it a ‘diplomatic faux pas’ and an avoidable embarrassment. This is not the first time that India has sent an invite to the US. Earlier in 2015, the then US president Barack Obama was the chief guest at the parade.
“It is a diplomatic faux pas and an avoidable embarrassment. There was no justification to have extended the invitation without first ascertaining that US President Trump will accept it. It is a failure of Indian diplomacy, they should have avoided it,” Congress leader Anand Sharma said.
President Trump’s non acceptance of invitation to be the chief guest for Republic Day was an avoidable embarrassment. Extending the invite without assured acceptance was a diplomatic faux Pas.
— Anand Sharma (@AnandSharmaINC) October 29, 2018
Earlier on Sunday, it was reported that Trump had rejected India’s invite over the latter’s S-400 missile defence system deal with Russia and oil imports from Iran despite the United States sanctions. As per sources, Donald Trump’s decision was conveyed by the US authorities to NSA Ajit Doval. Another reason to turn down the invitation was Trump’s domestic commitments — State of the Union (SOTU) address around that time.
Anticipating his refusal, India is said to have already shortlisted names of two-three heads of states who will be sent invites for the Republic Day parade.
In April this year, India had officially sent an invite to Donald Trump. While the authorities confirmed receiving the invite, they said that the final decision was taken after 2+2 dialogue which happened in September. Notably, the US and India ties have lately been under a lot of strain since the latter signed S-400 deal with Russia.
After the India deal with Russia to procure a batch of S-400 air defence missile systems, US threat of punitive action under CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act). Under CAATSA, the US can punish entities and governments engaged in a transaction with the defence or intelligence establishment of Russia.
The US had announced sanctions against Russia under CAATSA for its alleged meddling in the American presidential election in 2016.