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12 Dec, 2023 16:31

Joe Biden likely to give India visit a miss – media

The US leader’s planned trip to new New Delhi is unlikely to go ahead, Indian outlets have reported
Joe Biden likely to give India visit a miss – media

US President Joe Biden is unlikely to visit India for Republic Day celebrations on January 26, several major Indian outlets reported on Tuesday.

News agency PTI, quoting sources familiar with the matter, said the summit of the Quad grouping – comprising Australia, India, Japan and the United States – in New Delhi next month will also likely be postponed.

We are looking for revised dates as the dates currently under consideration do not work with all the Quad partners,” PTI quoted a source as saying.

According to media reports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited Biden to be the chief guest for Republic Day during their bilateral meeting on September 8 on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

Later that month, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti confirmed that Biden had received an invitation. The previous Republic Day parade held last January had Egyptian President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi as the chief guest.  Earlier, New Delhi was looking to schedule the Quad Summit, which groups India, Australia, Japan and the US, on January 27 to align with a Biden visit. 

The development comes in the wake of accusations leveled against India over its alleged involvement in an assassination plot foiled by the FBI, which targeted prominent Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York. FBI Director Christopher Wray is currently on a three-day visit to New Delhi during which he is expected to bring up the Khalistan issue with a host of Indian security and intelligence officials.

The case is closely linked to the killing of another prominent Khalistan activist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in a suburb of Canada’s British Columbia province. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September publicly accused “Indian agents” of being involved in Nijjar’s murder.

Canada has been getting information on Indian diplomats from its partners in the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence-sharing alliance, which includes the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Both the US and Australia are a part of Quad, and both have urged New Delhi to “cooperate” in investigations conducted by Ottawa. New Delhi has vehemently denied the allegations, claiming it has never received any evidence from the Canadian government to initiate a probe. It has, however, set up a committee to investigate the US murder plot.  

A report in Hindustan Times on Tuesday noted that a number of other factors could be behind the US administration’s decision not to accept the Republic Day invitation, including Biden’s election race and ongoing geopolitical developments, particularly the Israel-Hamas war.

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