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Opinion

The UK will become the only country whose leaders have been featured guests on Republic Day 6 times

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be the sixth British leader to be a main guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations, and the honor was last extended to former Prime Minister John Major in 1993.

The UK will also become the only country to have received this honor six times. So far, the heads of state or government of France and Great Britain have only been the main guests at the celebrations on five occasions.

In 1956, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Richard Austen Butler was the deputy chief guest at the January 26 parade alongside the Chief Justice of Japan, Kotaro Tanaka.

Members of the British royal family were the main guests in the 1950s and 1960s: Prince Philip in 1959, Queen Elizabeth in 1961 and Lord Louis Mountbatten in 1964. At the time, Mountbatten was the Chief of Defense Staff of the UK.

After a gap of nearly three decades, Prime Minister John Major was the next British leader to be the main guest at the 1993 Republic Day celebrations.

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The main guest for the Republic Day celebrations is chosen according to India’s strategic, diplomatic and economic interests, as well as New Delhi’s relations with the country in question.

The decision on the main guest is usually finalized in late November, although this year’s process was affected by the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The head of state or government of India generally intends to announce the invitation in advance to gain approval before a formal invitation is extended through diplomatic channels.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed on Tuesday, during a joint media interaction with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar, that Prime Minister Johnson had accepted the Indian government’s invitation to be the main guest. in the celebrations of the Day of the Republic.

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