United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be the chief guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations in 2021, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed on Tuesday. In a statement, Downing Street said that Boris Johnson will travel to India in January 2021 to strengthen a key strategic relationship which supports jobs and investment across the UK.
“I am absolutely delighted to be visiting India next year at the start of an exciting year for Global Britain, and look forward to delivering the quantum leap in our bilateral relationship that Prime Minister Modi and I have pledged to achieve,” the British Prime Minister said.
“As a key player in the Indo-Pacific region, India is an increasingly indispensable partner for the United Kingdom as we work to boost jobs and growth, confront shared threats to our security and protect our planet,” he added.
Johnson will be the second British leader since Indian independence to attend the annual Republic Day parade in New Delhi as Guest of Honour, after former prime minister John Major in 1993. In the past, members of the royal family have been Chief guests at the Indian Republic Day celebrations — Queen Elizabeth II in 1961 and Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip in 1959. Earlier this year, India had Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as its Republic Day State Guest of Honour.
“The Prime Minister will use his visit to India to boost our cooperation in areas that matter to the UK and that will be priorities for our international engagement throughout 2021 – from trade and investment, to defence and security, and health and climate change,” the statement from Downing Street added.
Speaking about the bilateral ties between the two nations after the British Prime Minister accepted the Republic Day invitation, External Affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar said, “it will be symbolic of a new era in Indo-UK ties.”
The 56-year-old British Prime Minister had contracted the coronavirus in March and later returned to his office after recovery.
United Kingdom has also invited India to join the G7 summit, which is being hosted by the former next year.
“I’m pleased that PM Boris Johnson has invited PM Modi to join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year,” said the Foreign Secretary Raab, addressing the media.
The Group of Seven (G7) is an intergovernmental organisation consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.