US President Donald Trump has reportedly been invited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be the chief guest at the 2019 Republic Day parade, just four years after PM Modi had pulled off a diplomatic coup by getting then President Barack Obama to the hugely symbolic parade in 2015.
The invite, learnt to have been sent a few months back, comes nearly a year after PM Modi invited President Trump during his visit to the White House last year, according to news agency PTI.
"I would like to invite you to India, along with your family. And I hope that you will give me the opportunity to welcome you and host you in India," PM Modi had said, standing alongside Mr Trump at the White House's Rose Garden. Officials said President Trump had accepted the invite.
When asked to confirm the reports on the invite, foreign ministry sources said " we have no comments to make on this matter".
His daughter Ivanka Trump, seen as the President's adviser, had travelled to India in September 2017 as head of the US delegation for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at PM Modi's invitation.
The early reports of the invitation came against the backdrop of efforts to iron out the creases in relations between the two countries over trade tariff, changes to US' visa regime, Washington's reservations over New Delhi's plans to buy the S-400 missile defence system from Russia and the push from US to stop use of Iranian oil.
In Delhi last month to build on the relationship between the two countries, Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations, told NDTV that from the Trump administration's standpoint, relations between the two countries had never been stronger. New Delhi also believes that the two sides can narrow their perceptions.
Ever year, India invites world leaders to attend its Republic Day celebrations.
This year, leaders from 10 ASEAN countries had attended the Republic Day celebrations.
In 2016, French President Francois Hollande was the chief guest of the parade while Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the chief guest at the celebrations in 2014.