US President Donald Trump will be unable to participate as Chief Guest of India's Republic Day 2019 celebrations due to scheduling constraints, White House confirmed.
PM Narendra Modi had invited Trump for a bilateral visit to India during their talks in Washington last year.
Confirming the invitation, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had said in July that no decision had been taken yet.
Possible reason: The Jan-end Annual State of the Union address
A White House spokesperson said one of the "scheduling constraints" is the annual State of the Union (SOTU) address by Trump to both Houses of the US Congress, which is normally delivered in the last week of January.
However, "The President very much looks forward to meeting Modi again at the earliest opportunity," the spokesperson said, adding Trump and Modi enjoy a strong rapport.
G-20 Summit in Argentina: Next scheduled Modi-Trump meeting?
The spokesperson further said Trump is committed to deepening the India-US relationship. Modi and Trump are scheduled to attend the G-20 Summit in Argentina on November 30 and December 1. It is also possible that the two leaders might meet and discuss bilateral relationship there.
Obama, Francois Hollande were chief guests in previous R-Day celebrations
Every year, India invites world leaders to attend its Republic Day celebrations.
In 2015, the then US President Barack Obama had attended it as the chief guest, which was also his second visit to India as President.
This year, leaders from 10 ASEAN countries had attended the R-Day celebrations.
In 2016, the then French president Francois Hollande was the chief guest of the parade.