Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021. A number of well-known political and public figures attended the ceremony, including former president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama.

A viral claim that India, unlike its neighbouring countries, did not receive an invitation to the inauguration was widespread on social media. Twitter user Rekha Meena’s tweet carrying the claim was liked 4,500 times and received 800 retweets.

Facebook user Moolnivasi Priyanka made a similar post.

The claim is circulating widely across Twitter and Facebook.


The same message was also viral in November 2020 however in the name of former Indian PM Manmohan Singh. Alt News had found that the claim is false. According to a San Diego Union Tribune story, no foreign leader had been invited for Barack Obama’s oath-taking ceremony in 2009. The report quoted official sources who said that foreign leaders are not usually called for the event due to security concerns and the presence of large crowds. However, the ambassadors of other nations are invited.

A subsequent keyword search on Twitter led us to a tweet by Prasar Bharati News Service on January 20, 2021. It stated that Indian ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu was in attendance at the inauguration. He also tweeted about this himself.

Apart from India, Ambassadors of Pakistan and Taiwan were also invited.

The Joint Committee on Inaugural Ceremony (JCCIC), responsible for organizing the function, had issued special guidelines in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the JCCIC, Congress members were allowed to bring only one guest with them this year. The Committee had also appealed to the American public to watch the inauguration from home.

The false claim that India was invited to Joe Biden’s inauguration was viral when, in fact, most foreign leaders are not invited to the ceremony. Furthermore, Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu did attend the inauguration.

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About the Author

Kinjal Parmar holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. However, her keen interest in journalism, drove her to pursue journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. At Alt News since 2019, she focuses on authentication of information which includes visual verification, media misreports, examining mis/disinformation across social media. She is the lead video producer at Alt News and manages social media accounts for the organization.