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India likely to have no chief guest on R-day as Boris Johnson cancels visit


Borris Johnson


New Delhi: India is likely to have no chief guest at the Republic Day Parade as the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has cancelled the scheduled visit.

In an official communication, UK's foreign office said that the PM had to cancel the visit owing to the escalation of the Covid 19 crisis in the United Kingdom because of the new mutant variant of the coronavirus.

"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," a press statement from 10 Downing Street said.

However, the office said that the UK Prime Minister hopes to visit India in the first half of 2021, and ahead of the UK's G7 Summit that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to attend as a guest.

For over last 50 years, India had a chief guest on all republic days except on three occasions – 1952, 1953 and 1966.

Meanwhile, cancellation of the visit has instigated a debate on social media on whether it is appropriate to conduct the parade during the pandemic situation.

The debate was initiated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s Rajya Sabha MP, Subramanian Swamy, who reiterated his demand dubbing it as "unfair on the parade participants."

Shashi Tharoor MP also called for the cancellation of the "festivities altogether".

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TAGS:Boris Johnson Republic Day 
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