UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be chief guest at India's Republic Day parade in 2021. He has accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India will be celebrating its 72nd Republic Day at the Red Fort on 26 January 2021.
Boris Johnson would be the first British PM since John Major to be guest of honour at the Rajpath parade in 27 years. John Major was the chief guest at the January 26 parade in 1993.
In 2020, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was the chief guest at the Republic Day parade.
As per report, PM Modi had extended the invitation to Boris Johnson to be the chief guest for the celebrations in New Delhi in last week of November.
Confirming the development, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Tuesday that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will visit India in January to be the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade. Raab, who is on three-day visit to India from December 14-17, made this announcement after holding talks with his Indian counterpart External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
"Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year. The UK Prime Minister has also accepted the very generous invitation to attend India's Republic Day celebrations (as chief guest) in January which is a great honour," Raab said.
In a joint press conference after the talks, Jaishankar said Johnson accepting the invitation for the Republic Day was, in a way, symbolic of a new era in Indo-UK ties.
Jaishankar said that the two sides held four hours of discussion on a wide range of issues and focus has been on how to take the bilateral ties to a higher level. The challenges posed by terrorism and radicalism which are shared concerns were also discussed during the talks, he said.
"In recent years as you know, there have been very big changes in global politics and we both believe that our interests are better served by working together more effectively," he said. Both the countries discussed important issues, including the situation in Afghanistan as also developments in Gulf and evolution of the Indo-Pacific region, he added.
Raab's visit to India comes at a time the UK is holding complex negotiations with the European Union on reaching a post Brexit trade deal. The British foreign secretary is scheduled to meet Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal.
Raab will also travel to Bengaluru where he will meet Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on December 17.