No foreign Head of State as chief guest for Republic Day this year due to COVID-19: MEA
It will be for the first time in over five decades that India will not have a chief guest at the Republic Day parade
New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday announced that there will be no foreign leader as the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations due to the global situation arising out of the coronavirus pandemic.
It will be for the first time in over five decades that India will not have a chief guest at the Republic Day parade.
"Due to the global COVID 19 situation, it has been decided that this year there will not be a foreign head of state or head of government as the chief guest for our Republic Day event," MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at a media briefing.
The decision was taken after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's last-minute decision to cancel his visit due to the spread of a mutant strain of the coronavirus in the UK.
India had invited Johnson as the Republic Day chief guest and he accepted India's invitation, calling it "a great honour".
However, earlier this month, Johnson cancelled his India visit due to the pandemic that has escalated in the UK following the mutant variant.
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In view of the global COVID-19 situation, the Centre has decided not to have a foreign dignitary present at the Republic Day celebrations this year. It will be for the first time in over five decades that there will be no chief guest at the Republic Day parade
The British PM said people must stay at home again, as they were ordered to do so in the first wave of the pandemic, because the new virus variant was spreading in a 'frustrating and alarming' way
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