British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in January 2021.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed Johnson’s visit after an interaction with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday. Raab reached Delhi on a bilateral visit on Monday night.
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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said, “The presence of Boris Johnson during the Republic Day celebrations is symbolic of a new phase between India and UK. I’m pleased that PM Boris Johnson has invited PM Modi to join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year.”
India chooses its Republic Day guest every year based on a number of factors — strategic and diplomatic, business interests and geo-politics.
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The R-Day celebrations this time will be largely curtailed due to the COVID pandemic, just like the truncated version of Independence Day on August 15.
India is trying to cosy up to the UK post Brexit and redefine bilateral ties at several levels — economic, people-to-people, political and strategic. The UK, too, would be keen to engage with New Delhi for purely economic considerations.
UK Foreign minister Raab will also travel to Bengaluru during his India visit from December 14 to 17. He will meet Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar and the Minister of Education, Ramesh Pokhriyal.
Johnson is the sixth UK Prime Minister to be a Republic Day chief guest. John Major was the last British PM to attend the R-Day programme in 1993. In the past, members of the British royalty have been chief guests too.