Trump may visit India in February or ‘soon after’ if all goes well with impeachment trial

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 14, 2020 Published on January 14, 2020

Donald Trump, US President. File photo   -  REUTERS

Officials from both sides have been discussing possible dates since September 2019; visit has to be before Presidential elections in November

US President Donald Trump’s long-pending visit to India may finally happen next month or “soon after that’’ depending on the duration and fate of his impeachment trial likely to start next week, a source familiar with the matter has said.

“Officials from New Delhi and Washington have been discussing possible dates of the US President’s visit since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the country in September last year. With the US Presidential elections scheduled in November 2020, the ideal time for Trump to visit is February or soon after that depending on the trial. But there can be no commitments on the matter,” the source told BusinessLine.

Last year, Trump turned down India’s invitation to participate in the Republic Day celebrations as chief guest due to “scheduling constraints’’.

While there were some reports that the reason for the refusal was tied to India’s decision to go ahead with the S-400 missile deal with Russia, US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster had denied it.

“In September last year, after Modi and Trump’s meetings in New York and Houston, there was a buzz that the US President may visit by November 2019 if the trade deal that both the leaders discussed materialised but that did not happen,” he said.

However, with time now running out and Trump’s existing term as President coming to an end before the end of the year, there is a narrow window remaining for White House to plan his India-visit.

“The exact time of Trump’s visit, however, will ultimately depend on how the impeachment trial unfolds. One is not yet sure when the proceedings will begin although Republican Senator John Cornyn told reporters in Washington that it is likely to start on January 21,” the source pointed out.

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Published on January 14, 2020
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