Failure of Indian diplomacy: Congress slams Centre for inviting Trump for R-Day event
New Delhi, Oct 29: The Congress on Monday hit out at the Central government for extending an invite to US President Donald Trump to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations, terming it a 'diplomatic faux pas' and an avoidable embarrassment.
"It is a diplomatic faux pas and an avoidable embarrassment. There was no justification to have extended the invitation without first ascertaining that US President Trump will accept it. It is a failure of Indian diplomacy, they should have avoided it," Congress leader Anand Sharma said.
The US president has declined the invitation to be chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations, reports claimed on Saturday.
President Trump's administration has said he has a "crowded agenda" and can't be in India for the Republic Day.
In early August, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders had confirmed Mr Trump received an invite to visit India. "I know that the invitation has been extended, but I do not believe that a final decision has been made," Sanders told reporters then.
In 2015, when U.S. President Barack Obama had come to India for the parade, he had been able to negotiate to bring forward the address to January 20, and travelled to India after it.
Trump turning down the invitation could be seen as a low point in India-US ties, despite the good rapport he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi say they share.
Normally, formal invites to leaders for Republic Day are sent after the leader has confirmed his or her attendance. Former diplomats have criticised the government for leaking the invitation letter to Trump before a confirmation.