Gandhinagar: President Barack Obama is “very excited” that he will be the first US President to be honoured as the chief guest at India's Republic Day celebrations, Secretary of State John Kerry said today.
Speaking at the 7th Vibrant Gujarat Summit, he said: “President Obama is very excited and particularly pleased with the fact that he will be the first US President to be honoured as the chief guest on Republic Day commemoration.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited the US President to be the chief guest at this year's Republic Day celebrations on January 26. Obama accepted the invitation in signs of expanding ties between the two nations.
“And he will the first sitting US President to visit India twice while in office,” Kerry said. “Let me make it clear we believe in values that both countries share.”
India traditionally invites a head of state to participate as chief guest at Republic Day celebrations that culminates in a military parade.
Last year's chief guest was the then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Modi met Obama on a his visit to the United States in September and they have spoken on telephone since then. Obama, who had visited India in 2010, would also be the first US President to visit the country twice while in office.