Though diplomatically a pre-conceived decision, what Prime Minister Narendra Modi did was to make it open slightly before the official confirmation on both sides, making it look like a major diplomatic triumph for his government.
While the process of inviting the US president Barack Obama began few months ago, it was finally put forward in his personal visit to the White House recently and upon learning the positive confirmation, Modi has made it public in India and soon the media hype soured to sky.
Few hours before making it official from the US side, Modi had hit his favourite Twitter informing the public about his invitation to US President Obama, saying: “This Republic Day, we hope to have a friend over…invited President Obama to be the 1st US President to grace the occasion as Chief Guest.”
This Republic Day, we hope to have a friend over…invited President Obama to be the 1st US President to grace the occasion as Chief Guest.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 21, 2014
While the media was rushing to cover the ins and outs of the move by Modi, pat came the confirmation from the White House in the form of a statement by the White House Press Secretary. It reads:
“At the invitation of Prime Minister Modi, the President will travel to India in January 2015 to participate in the Indian Republic Day celebration in New Delhi as the Chief Guest. This visit will mark the first time a U.S. president will have the honor of attending Republic Day, which commemorates the adoption of India’s constitution. The President will meet with the Prime Minister and Indian officials to strengthen and expand the U.S.-India strategic partnership.”
The new development comes a month after Modi’s successful visit to the White House on Septmeber 30, again in Brisbane on November 4 on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
This will be the first time that a US President will be attending the Republic Day as the chief guest and also the second official visit by President Obama to India. He had visited last time in 2010 at the invitation of then prime minister Manmohan Singh.