UK PM Johnson Cancels R-Day Trip to India Amid Rising COVID Cases
The UK PM was supposed to be Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations.
United Kingdom PM Boris Johnson has cancelled his visit to India, originally scheduled for later in January 2021, Reuters reported on Tuesday, 5 January. He was to be Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations.
According to Reuters, PM Johnson cited the need to oversee the response to the COVID pandemic in UK, which is facing renewed concern over the new mutant strain and a rise in cases.
“The prime minister spoke to Prime Minister Modi this morning, to express his regret that he will be unable to visit India later this month as planned,” the UK government said in a statement, according to ANI.
“In light of the national lockdown announced last night, 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.”Statement from UK government
PM Johnson had announced the decision to return to a complete lockdown on Monday, in a televised address. He said that the measures include shutting of primary and secondary schools, and will come into effect on Wednesday.
The statement further said that PM Johnson hopes to be able to visit India in the first half of 2021, ahead of the UK’s G7 Summit that PM Narendra Modi is due to attend as a guest.
United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, on 15 December, had said that PM Johnson had accepted India’s invitation to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations.
Johnson would have been the sixth person from the UK to be a chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations and the first British PM since John Major in 1993, reported The Indian Express.
(With inputs from Reuters and The Indian Express)
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