Boris Johnson to be chief guest for Republic Day; symbolic of new era in India-UK ties, says S Jaishankar

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab who is on a three-day India visit confirmed that Johnson has accepted the invitation, and invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the UK-hosted G7 summit next year

Press Trust of India December 15, 2020 17:20:40 IST
Boris Johnson to be chief guest for Republic Day; symbolic of new era in India-UK ties, says S Jaishankar

File image of UK prime minister Boris Johnson. AP

New Delhi: British prime minister Boris Johnson will visit India in January to be the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade, UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab announced on Tuesday after holding talks with his Indian counterpart External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

Addressing a joint press conference after the talks, Jaishankar said the two sides held four hours of discussion on a wide range of issues and focus has been on how to take the bilateral ties to a higher level.

"In recent years as you know, there have been very big changes in global politics and we both believe that our interests are better served by working together more effectively," he said and added that important issues, including the situation in Afghanistan as also developments in Gulf and evolution of the Indo-Pacific region were discussed.

Jaishankar said challenges posed by terrorism and radicalism which are shared concerns were also discussed during the talks.

"Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year. The UK Prime Minister has also accepted the very generous invitation to attend India's Republic Day celebrations (as chief guest) in January which is a great honour," Raab said.

On his part, Jaishankar said Johnson accepting the invitation for the Republic Day was, in a way, symbolic of a new era in Indo-UK ties.

Raab's three-day visit to India from 14-17 December comes at a time the UK is holding complex negotiations with the European Union on reaching a post-Brexit trade deal.

In the wake of Brexit, the UK has been looking at ramping up trade with leading economies like India. There have been apprehensions that its separation from the European Union without a trade deal could severely cripple its financial markets and may have long-term implications for its economy.

The British foreign secretary is scheduled to meet Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal.
Raab will also travel to Bengaluru where he will meet Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa on 17 December.

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