Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said he had invited US President Barack Obama to attend the upcoming Republic Day function as the 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,” the PM tweeted.
The White House confirmed that Obama received the invite and had accepted it as well. Later, official Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Syed Akbaruddin said in New Delhi, “He (PM) did extend an invitation to President Obama to be the Chief Guest of our next Republic Day celebrations.
“Following that diplomatic conversation which the Prime Minister had with President Obama, a letter was sent, formalising that invitation. We have now received a confirmation through diplomatic channels of President Obama agreeing to come to India as the first US President for a Republic Day function as the Chief Guest.
“This is also another first. President Obama would be the first US President to come to India, a second time during his term of office. We will now look forward to this development which stems from the initiative of our PM, which followed their bilateral meeting in Washington. We will keep you posted about further developments
In a separate statement, the White House said confirmed the invitation and President Obama’s travel plans.
The Press Secretary on the President’s Travel in US in a statement said, “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 US 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 US-India strategic partnership,” the statement said.
Modi and Obama most recently met at the G20 summit in Australia, and prior to that in Myanmar during the ASEAN summit. “You’re a man of action,” President Obama said when he met PM Modi at the G20 summit in light of the positive talks about WTO.
Earlier, PM Modi met President Obama in Washington when he travelled to the US to speak at the United Nations General Assembly. The bonhomie has continued since.
(With inputs from PTI)