India will not have R-Day chief guest due to global coronavirus situation: MEA
New Delhi: The Indian foreign ministry on Thursday said that no foreign head of state or head of government will be present at the annual Republic Day parade this year as the chief guest, for the first time in decades."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," Foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava told reporters at the weekly foreign office briefing.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been invited as the chief guest for the parade on 26 January – seen as a high point of India’s diplomatic calendar every year – but he cancelled his India visit citing an upsurge in covid-19 cases triggered by a new variant of corona virus at home. Johnson however has said he would make the visit to India during the first half of this year, before the G7 Summit hosted by the UK..The last time India did not have a chief guest at its Republic Day parade was in 1966. Then prime minister Indira Gandhi was sworn in on 24 January, days after the death of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on 11 January. Two other years when India did not have a chief guest at the parade were 1952 and 1953, according to news reports.