Republic Day 2021: No Foreign Official as Chief Guest for First Time in 55 Years
GUWAHATI: India will not have a Chief Guest for the Republic Day Celebrations 2021 as confirmed by Anurag Srivastava, the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs. This was highly anticipated as United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson, the dignitary invited this year, canceled his visit due to the rising COVID-19 cases in his country.
India has a history of inviting foreign dignitaries to its Republic Day Celebrations held on 26th January
every year for the last 55 years. This has happened only for the 4th time since Independence in 1947 that there will be no foreign official as chief guest during the celebration.
This decision was taken in light of the surge in Covid-19 cases around the world and the new strain of the virus, which has spread in the UK.
"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 the Republic Day event," said Mr. Srivastava.
The last time this happened was in 1966 when the Republic Day celebrations were held without the presence of Chief Guest right after the death of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and the death of famous scientist Homi Bhaba.
In 1950, the then Indonesian President Sukarno was the first foreign dignitary to grace the celebrations. In 2020, India hosted Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro as the Chief Guest.