PM Narendra Modi pulled off yet another diplomatic coup -perhaps his biggest:when President Barack Obama accepted his invite to be chief guest of the Republic Day parade next year.
Modi broke the news on Twitter, saying:This Republic Day, we hope to have a friend over: invited President Obama to be the 1st US President to grace the occa sion as Chief Guest.
Within minutes, the White House confirmed the visit in a return tweet.
At the invitation of PM Modi, the President would travel to India in January 2015 to participate in the Indian Republic Day cele bration in New Delhi as the Chief Guest.
This visit will mark the first time a US President will have the honour of attending Republic Day.
The President will meet with the Prime Minister and Indian officials to strengthen and expand the US-India strategic partnership.
Sources said Obama would have to rework the date for his State of the Union address, typically made in end-January or the first week of February.
The US is the only big power which hasn't received an RDay invite yet.
The heads of China, Russia, UK and France have all been chief guests.
Sources said Obama's visit would require him to recalibrate the date for his State of the Union address, one of the most crucial dates on the American president's calendar.
The address is typically delivered in the last week of January or the first week of February.
The big development stands out considering that the US, for a decade, publicly proclaimed that it would not give a visa to Modi.
The stand was changed just before the Lok Sabha elections when Modi's success had seemed obvious.
The decision to invite Obama was taken by Modi himself who decided to go beyond the MEA's list of potential invitees to seek to scale up the Republic Day celebrations by turning the event into a major diplomatic outreach.
Top government officials confirmed that the invite to the US president was the idea of the PM, who felt that the presence of the leader of the oldest democracy on the day to commemorate the foundation of the largest democracy would mark a celebration of the spirit of democracy