New Delhi: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday announced that there will be no foreign leader as the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations due to the global situation arising out of the coronavirus pandemic.
It will be for the first time in over five decades that India will not have a chief guest at the Republic Day parade.
“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,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said at a media briefing.
The decision was taken after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s last-minute decision to cancel his visit due to the spread of a mutant strain of the coronavirus in the UK.
India had invited Johnson as the Republic Day chief guest and he accepted India’s invitation, calling it “a great honour”.
However, earlier this month, Johnson cancelled his India visit due to the pandemic that has escalated in the UK following the mutant variant.