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HomeIndiaModi has invited Biden as Republic Day guest: US envoy

Modi has invited Biden as Republic Day guest: US envoy

In an indication of the deepening ties between the two countries, US Ambassador Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that President Joe Biden has been invited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26 next year.

During an interaction organised by the Ananta Centre, Garcetti, responding to a question on the Quad leaders being invited to the Republic Day celebrations, said the invitation to Biden was extended by Modi during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi recently.

Earlier this month, The Indian Express had reported that the government was considering inviting leaders of the Quad grouping for the Republic Day celebrations next year. A final call, sources had said, would be taken only after ascertaining the availability of the leaders – President Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

An invitation to be the Republic Day chief guest is highly symbolic from the government’s perspective. New Delhi has been weaving a strategy with hospitality to decide its chief guest for the Republic Day. A formal invitation is usually sent only after ascertaining informally the availability of the leaders.

Sources said the Indian side had been working on those lines since all three leaders of the Quad grouping were here for the G20 Summit. It is also India’s turn to host the Quad Summit next year.

Biden will be heading towards an election by the end of 2024, and January will be his last State of the Union address before the country goes to polls.

The Australian government too celebrates its national day on January 26, honouring the establishment of the first permanent European settlement on the island continent. Albanese will be busy with public celebrations and ceremonies.

Japan usually has its Diet (parliament) session open in the last week of January, and the Prime Minister is expected to be present there in the first weeks of the Budget session. The 150-day session next year is scheduled from January 23.

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If this plan of getting all the Quad leaders together works out, it will be a strong signal to China whose aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region has brought the four countries together.

The Quad grouping began in 2007, but it lost its steam in 2008. It was revived in 2017 at the official level, and was upgraded to Foreign Ministers in 2019 and at the leaders’ level in 2021 after Biden came to power.

Behind guest choice

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The choice of chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations every year is dictated by a number of reasons – strategic and diplomatic, business interest and international geopolitics. The next Republic Day will be the last before the Lok Sabha elections barely months later.

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

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