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Covid-19 shadow on 72nd Republic Day: No foreign head of state to attend the event

Due to the COVID pandemic, no foreign guest will be present at India’s Republic Day parade, something that has been one of the highlights of the annual event celebrating the country’s diversity at the heart of Delhi.
 
Announcing the development, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “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 govt as the chief guest at our republic day event”.

India had extended an invite to UK PM Boris Johnson to be the guest at the Republic Day that had accepted and confirmed that he will be coming. But earlier this month he had informed the Indian PM of his inability to come due to the new strain of Covid virus that had emerged in the UK. 

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This is the 4th time in history that no foreign guest will be present at India’s republic day. 

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The last time it had happened was in the year 1966, and before that in 1953 and 1952.

The choice of republic day guest showcases New Delhi’s closeness with the country. Indian PM Modi had invited US President Barack Obama as the chief guest in 2015, which sent the message of growing ties Delhi Washington partnership. 

In 2018, all members of the ASEAN grouping were invited, creating history since never before 10 heads of govt/states were present at the parade together.

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