No Foreign Head of State as Chief Guest for Republic Day: Centre

The Ministry of External Affairs has cited the global COVID-19 situation as the reason for the decision. 

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There will be no foreign head of state or government as the chief guest for the Republic Day event this year due to the global COVID-19 situation, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday, 14 January.

"Due to the global COVID19 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," MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava was quoted as saying at the weekly briefing on Thursday.

Earlier, United Kingdom PM Boris Johsnon had cancelled his visit to India, where he was to be the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations.

According to Reuters, PM Johnson had cited the need to oversee the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in UK, which is facing renewed concern over the new mutant variant and a rise in cases.

“The prime minister spoke to Prime Minister Modi... to express his regret that he will be unable to visit India later this month as planned,” the UK government had said in a statement then.

“In light of the national lockdown announced... and 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,” it added.

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