trump modi

US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hold a meeting at UN Headquarters in New York, Sept. 24, 2019, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is in the early stages of planning what would be his first visit to India, officials in the U.S. and Indian governments said Jan. 14.

The two sides are discussing mutually agreeable dates for Trump to visit as a guest of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, likely toward the end of February and after the conclusion of his impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Trump’s travel plans have not been formalized.

Two Indian newspapers reported on the planned presidential visit. The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi referred questions to the White House, which declined comment.

Trump and Modi exchanged New Year’s greetings in a Jan. 6 telephone call. A White House statement at the time made no mention of Trump’s interest in visiting India.

The leaders have developed a warm relationship over the past few years.

During their first White House meeting in June 2017, Modi bear-hugged Trump several times following a joint news conference in the Rose Garden. And last September, Trump traveled to Houston to speak at a rally for Modi before an audience of 50,000 Indian Americans.

Several days after that Texas event, Trump suggested — as he and Modi met in New York during the U.N. General Assembly — that the prime minister be known as the “father of India” because of his success uniting the nation.

Since then, however, the two-term prime minister has been the subject of sometimes violent and deadly protests against a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims.

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Associated Press writer Emily Schmall in New Delhi contributed to this report.

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