India keen on having Quad leaders as Chief Guests for 2024 Republic Day parade

Sources say it would be extremely difficult, especially as January 26 is observed as Australia Day

Updated - September 07, 2023 10:24 pm IST

Published - September 07, 2023 09:38 pm IST - NEW DELHI

U.S. President Joe Biden. File

U.S. President Joe Biden. File | Photo Credit: AP

India is discussing the possibility of inviting leaders of the Quad grouping, comprising of India, Australia, Japan and the U.S., to the Republic Day parade on January 26, diplomatic sources confirmed.

The possibility of U.S. President Joe Biden being the Chief Guest for the parade, with the Quad summit held a day prior, on January 25, is also being looked into, but given that January 26 is observed as Australia Day, it would be extremely difficult for their Prime Minister to be in India on that day, an official source said.

Welcoming the idea, diplomatic sources said it would be extremely difficult for some of the leaders given their pressing commitments in their respective countries during that time.

An Australian High Commission responded positively. “The Prime Minister looks forward to participating in next year’s Quad Leaders’ Summit in India. We are aware of recent media reports [on dates]. We continue to discuss potential Quad Leaders’ Summit dates with our Quad partners,” the spokesperson said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced at the Quad leaders’ meeting on the sidelines of the G-7 Summit in Japan in May that India would host the next Quad leaders’ summit.

“The Quad group has established itself as an important platform for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific,” Mr. Modi had said at the summit, adding that the Indo-Pacific region is the “engine for global trade, innovation and development”.

A diplomatic source, who was confirmed by another, said that while the issue has been discussed between officials, nothing has been formalised yet.

“It is a very good idea, but the timing is extremely difficult...,” the first source said. Sources noted that it is an extremely hectic period as January 26 is also observed as Australia Day; and the U.S. President will be gearing up for elections and his last State of Union address of this term around that time. One of the sources noted that this was the time during which the Japanese parliament, the Diet, will be in session.

U.S. President Barack Obama was the Chief Guest at Republic Day parade in January 2015. India showcases its military might and cultural diversity at the annual event.

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