New Delhi, Jan 24: The country is eagerly awaiting the arrival of US President Barack Obama as the chief guest for this year's Republic Day ceremony.
Obama, who is just over midway into his second term, will be the first US president to be present as the chief guest in the R-Day celebration and also the first incumbent of the White House to visit India twice. [President Obama leaves for India for R-Day celebrations]
But Obama is not the first American president to have received the invitation for the Republic Day celebration.
In 1994, the then Indian prime minister PV Narasimha Rao expressed his interest after returning from a satisfactory US visit to invite the then US president Bill Clinton for the next year's Republic Day celebration. [Know what will be on Obama's India visit]
He asked the then foreign secretary Krishnan Srinivasan to convey it to the American side and the latter told the same to the then US deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott and he was very quick to respond. [Obama's Taj Mahal visit gets cancelled]
Narasimha Rao's foreign policy had marked a new shift in India's West policy
It was said that Clinton was extremely enthusiastic to reciprocate to Rao's idea but could not because of the State of the Union speech which was due to be held on January 24 that year. [Clinton takes credit for ending US-India rift]Clinton and Rao missed the chance to make history. But Obama and Modi did not.