Over the last four years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trips have always created a buzz and majorly in a way of criticism. The most frequently visited country by PM Modi is the United States, where he made five visits including the UN General Assembly meeting in 2014. Indo-US relations were tensed under the second UPA regime, but reportedly it seems to have certainly improved since the entry of Modi.
Modi during his previous visit to Washington in June last year had invited Trump to pay a visit to India on our 70th Republic day in 2019. Although Donald Trump declined India’s invite to be the chief guest for the annual Indian Republic Day parade held in New Delhi. According to multiple government and diplomatic sources, a final decision has been conveyed to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stating the reason with Trump’s “crowded calendar” being cited as the primary reason for his not accepting the invitation. However, the question here arises that what is the country going to lose if Trump has refused to come to India?
On asking about Trump’s denial for visiting India on Republic Day, Criminal lawyer Abbas Kazmi stated, “Trump’s refusal to accept the Indian government’s Republic Day invitation won’t make any difference to our country. India is a self-reliant nation and things have changed drastically as we don’t depend on other countries now. By threatening to impose sanctions against India, the US is behaving like a goonda which is unjustified.”
While Congress spokesperson Anant Gadgil feels the denial was an insult towards the nation. He commented, “Normally, the government don’t declare the information pertaining to the visit of important dignitaries visiting India unless they get an official confirmation from them. But the government has made a mistake by declaring about Trump’s visit to India on Republic Day. If the government invites other guests just because Trump is not coming then it is really an insult.”
India has always observed a love-hate kind of relationship lately, after Trump being the President of America. A few days ago, Trump had shown his anguished saying that India will soon find out about his decision on the punitive CAATSA sanctions after India signed a $5 billion deal to purchase the much-vaunted S-400 air defence system from Russia. Taking a note of Trump’s statement, India’s foreign ministry chose not to comment on the remarks made by him while interacting with reporters in the White House. He had also threatened not only India but all countries to stop oil imports from Iran or they will face sanctions from the US.
BJP spokesperson Avadhut Wagh mentioned, “Trump might not be coming to India for attending the Republic Day function due to time constraints. As far as the US threatening to impose sanctions on India, our nation is not worried as we have already conducted the Pokhran test. We already have good relations with Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, China and other countries and that is the beauty of Narendra Modi.”
In a recent case, where Trump slammed India for imposing “tremendously high tariffs” on American products stating that New Delhi wanted to have a trade deal with the US primarily to keep him happy. He had announced the key elements of the US-Mexico and Canada Agreement or USMCA, Trump listed out at the trade deals that are under negotiations, including with Japan, European Union, China and India.
Political journalist Nilesh Khare expressed, “Since the US is involved in an economic war with China, they require India to counterbalance China. India is the trade partner of US. Since India has already purchased oil from Iran, hence the question of imposing a sanction against us doesn’t arise.”
Trump also said that the relationship with both India as well as the country’s Prime Minister Modi “is great”. As in a decision by the US President of closing the border for predominantly Muslim countries has created anxiety around the world and it has not left the Indian Muslim migrants. But, the experts of the India-US relations feel that the Indian Muslims need not worry about the decision, though there is a possible worry for the emigrants of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia who are subjected to heavy vetting.
Last year, Trump had made an attempt to make an eccentric personal remark for Modi, when he discovered that Modi would be flying solo on his then June 2017 state visit to the US, he joked that he could play matchmaker for the Indian Prime Minister. Earlier, in an event named World Economic Forum where Modi and Trump both had given a speech, Trump tried to imitate Modi’s way of speaking. In the same year, he had also announced a suspension of “premium processing” of H-1B visas which largely affected Indian IT services companies.
Social activist and former AAP leader Anjali Damania exclaimed, “Trump’s turning down the Indian government’s Republic Day invitation only indicates the strained relations between both the countries. US is not only trying to impose trade sanction but is also imposing curbs on H-1B visa.”
In 2015, when the US President Barack Obama had come to India for the parade, he had been able to negotiate and breakthrough on a pact that allowed the US companies to supply India with civilian nuclear technology. Nonetheless, it is believed that Trump’s visit could make a difference between the two countries relationship.
Social activist Kumar Saptarshi asserted, “It’s Donald Trump’s wish whether he wants to accept Indian government’s invitation for Republic Day function. If he had come to India then the relation between India and US might have improved.”
Nonetheless, Shiv Sena leader Arvind Bhonsale refrained from making any comment on this issue.