No Chief Guest At Republic Day Parade This Year?
New Delhi: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s inability to be the chief guest for the Republic Day parade on account of pandemic-related compulsions at home, may mean that for the first time in 55 years, India is unlikely to have any chief guest on Republic Day.
Quoting sources, The Indian Expres (TIE) reported that it will be difficult to invite any foreign leader at a time when countries are still dealing with the pandemic. This is also too short a notice for any foreign leader to be invited. Also, it could be seen as an undiplomatic gesture to invite someone else, after a leader has refused to attend the celebrations.
When did a similar situation arise in the past?
2013: Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said could not come due to a communication issue. So, Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk, came for the Republic Day.
2019: After US President Donald Trump could not come, India invited South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for the Republic Day celebrations.
Flashback to 1966
No invitations were sent out due to the demise of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on January 11, 1966 in Tashkent. The new government headed by Indira Gandhi was sworn in on January 24, 1966, only two days ahead of the Republic Day parade.