On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson summoned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and conveyed “regrets” that he will not be free to tour India for the Republic Day celebrations as the Chief Guest.
In light of the latest national lockdown in his nation, Johnson made the decision as his country reacted to the latest, a more infectious mutant strain of the novel coronavirus.
Indian government sources said Modi “conveyed his understanding of the exceptional situation and hoped that the UK would overcome Covid challenges successfully”.
The reports said the two leaders reaffirmed their dedication to working to deepen the bilateral relationship.
For the Republic Day celebrations, India must now look for an alternate Chief Guest, who could, however, be truncated because of the disease outbreak. The Independence Day celebrations last year were also downscaled.
A special honor for a visiting foreign dignitary is an invitation to be the Chief Guest on India’s Republic Day. When deciding on the Chief Guest, New Delhi has been constructing a plan with hospitality. A variety of variables determine the choice: strategic and diplomatic, commercial interests, and geopolitics.
Previous Reports On Invitation By Narendra Modi:
It is not the first occasion Narendra Modi has had to search for an alternate guest, as it was not able to make the first option. Because of a communication problem, Oman’s Sultan Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said was unable to come in 2013, and Bhutan’s King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk came anyway. Likewise, in 2019, India welcomed South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to join the Republic Day celebrations after US President Donald Trump did not come.
A statement by 10, Downing Street — the British Prime Minister’s office — said, “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.”
“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,” the statement said.
It further added the two leaders “underlined their shared commitment to the bilateral relationship, and to continuing to build on the close collaboration between our countries – including in response to the pandemic”.
Johnson said that in the first half of 2021, ahead of the G7 Summit in the UK, he wanted to be able to visit India, which Modi is due to attend as a guest, the statement said.