If finalized, the visit would be Trump’s first to India as president. The United States has sought to cultivate India as a partner and potential counterweight to China, and Trump has spoken of his “great admiration” for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In September, the two men appeared together, clasping hands and smiling, at a rally Modi held for Indian Americans in Houston.
Over the past month, Modi has faced the most significant show of opposition to his government since he came to power in 2014, with protests sweeping the country over a new citizenship law that critics say discriminates against Muslims.
Trump administration officials have struck a cautious tone since the law was passed. The United States cares “deeply and always will about protecting minorities,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month in response to a question on the citizenship measure. India is having “robust debate” on the issue, he said.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi declined to comment and referred questions to the White House. In response to inquiries Tuesday morning, the White House also declined to comment.
The “two sides are in touch” and “trying to work out a mutually convenient date,” said one Indian official. Another said the visit could take place in February or March.
India and the United States have deepened their military and security cooperation in recent years, but trade tensions have shadowed the relationship between the world’s two largest democracies.
Last year, Trump withdrew a preferential trade status for certain Indian goods in a sign of U.S. displeasure, and India retaliated with tariff hikes of its own. Since then, the two countries have engaged in talks to bridge their trade differences but have yet to resolve them.
While Trump frequently criticizes India’s trade policies, he has hailed his personal rapport with Modi. Like Trump, Modi is a right-leaning nationalist politician who inspires both adulation and opposition. After Trump appeared with Modi before cheering crowds at a stadium in Houston, Trump likened the Indian leader to rock star Elvis Presley.
The last American president to visit India was Barack Obama. He traveled to New Delhi twice during his time in office, first in 2010 and again in 2015, when he participated in India’s annual Republic Day festivities.
Josh Dawsey in Washington contributed to this report.