Joe Biden unlikely to visit India for R-Day celebrations, no Quad summit soon

New Delhi: US President Joe Biden is not expected to travel to India next month to grace the Republic Day celebrations as the Chief Guest, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

With Biden understood to have not planned a trip to India in January, it is learnt that the summit of four-nation coalition Quad is also not taking place next month as expected earlier.

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.

However, there was no comment by India on the invitation.

Separately, sources 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 invite.

“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 Quad or Quadrilateral coalition comprises India, the US, Japan and Australia.

It is learnt that Washington has indicated to New Delhi that President Biden would not be able to travel to India for the Republic Day celebrations.

There has 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 Defence 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 Sikh 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 had taken 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 areas of clean energy supply chains, undersea cables and investments in strategic technologies.