New Delhi: US President Joe Biden is not traveling to India next month to grace the Republic Day celebrations as the Chief Guest, and New Delhi is looking at holding the next Quad summit later next year instead of its earlier plan to host it in January, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, December 12.
In September, US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti said Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited President Biden to be the Chief Guest for the Republic Day celebrations on January 26 next year.
However, there was no official word from India on the invitation to Biden.
It has been learned that Washington has already conveyed to New Delhi that Biden would not be able to visit India.
The reasons for the decision are believed to be the State of the Union address in late January or early February, Biden’s focus on his re-election bid, and Washington’s increasing focus on the Hamas-Israel conflict.
The people cited above said the Quad Summit is not taking place in India in January, and it is now proposed to be held in the country in the later part of 2024.
It was expected that the Quad Summit would take place around January 27 if Biden accepted India’s invitation.
“The Quad Summit in India is proposed to be held later in 2024. We are looking for revised dates as the dates currently under consideration do not work with all the Quad partners,” said a source.
The quadrilateral coalition comprises India, the US, Japan, and Australia.
There have been a flurry of visits by senior US officials to India in the last few months.
Last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited India for the ‘2+2’ ministerial dialogue.
US Principal Deputy NSA Jonathan Finer visited India last week, and, currently, FBI Director Christopher Wray is on a trip to New Delhi.
The visit by Finer and Wray came against the backdrop of Washington’s allegations about an Indian link to a foiled plot to kill a Sikh separatist on American soil.
American prosecutors linked an Indian official to a man charged with conspiring to assassinate separatist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. India has already constituted a probe team to investigate the allegations.
On the Quad Summit, the sources said India is looking at fresh dates.
The last Quad summit took place in Hiroshima on May 20 on the sidelines of the G7 summit.
The Quad Summit was originally scheduled to take place in Sydney on May 24.
However, it was decided to hold it in Hiroshima after President Biden postponed his trip to Australia.
In their next summit, the Quad leaders are expected to bolster overall cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, a region that has been witnessing growing Chinese military assertiveness.
In the Hiroshima summit, the Quad leaders unveiled a ‘Vision Statement’ titled ‘Enduring Partners for Indo-Pacific’ expressing their resolve to act as a “force for good” to find common solutions for region-wide benefit.
They also came out with a series of initiatives, including in the areas of clean energy supply chains, undersea cables, and investments in strategic technologies.