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R-Day 2021 | No foreign head of state as chief guest this year due to COVID-19: MEA

Republic Day parade (File image)

Days after the cancellation of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's visit, the Indian government confirmed that there would be no chief guest for the Republic Day 2021 event.

This would be the first time in last 55 years when the Republic Day parade would not be attended by a foreign head of state.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in a statement issued on January 14, cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason behind not inviting any foreign leader for the January 26 event.

"Due to the global COVID-19 situation, it has been decided that this year there will not be any foreign head of state or government as the chief guest for our Republic Day event," ANI quoted MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava as saying.

In December, the government had invited the British Prime Minister as the chief guest for Republic Day parade. On December 15, Johnson's office had issued an official confirmation that he would be visiting India.

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On January 5, however, Johnson decided to cancel his visit to India citing the unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases in the UK.

"The Prime Minister spoke to Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi this morning, to express his regret that he will be unable to visit India later this month as planned," read a statement from his Downing Street office.

"The speed at which the new coronavirus variant is spreading, the Prime Minister said that it was important for him to remain in the UK so he can focus on the domestic response to the virus," the statement added.
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Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by Dailyhunt. Publisher: Money Control English
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