British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in January 2021. The news was confirmed today by the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab who was on a bilateral visit on Monday.
Raab made the announcement after his meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday.
This will be Boris Johnson’s “first major bilateral visit” since he took charge last year, his office highlighted.
“I’m pleased that PM Boris Johnson has invited PM Modi to join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year. UK PM Johnson has also accepted the very generous invitation to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations in January, which is a great honour. The presence of PM Boris Johnson as the chief guest at Republic Day 2021 would be in a way symbolic of a new era, a new phase of our relationship.” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said.
Johnson is the sixth from the UK to be Republic Day chief guest. He will also be the first British PM since John Major in 1993 to be the chief guest at the celebrations.
Raab, who is one of the few foreign ministers to visit India during the COVID-19 pandemic, will also travel to Bangalore. He will be in India from December 14 to 17. He will also have official meetings with the Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, and the Minister of Education, Ramesh Pokhriyal.
The Ministry of External Affairs said that Raab’s visit will “pave the way for further strengthening of the partnership across trade, defence, climate, migration and mobility, education, and health sectors in the post-Covid, post-Brexit context”.
Boris Johnson has also invited PM Modi to join the G7 summit next year in Britain, said UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab; India would be one of the three guest countries. Mr Raab reached Delhi this morning for a four-day India visit, and was welcomed by the Foreign Minister.
Choice of Boris Johnson as Republic Day Guest
Boris Johnson is a highly polarising figure in Britain much like Prime Minister Modi. He is the main man behind the rise of British Neonationalism and “Brexit”- The exit of Britain from the European Union. The Brexit referendum which took place in 2016 was drenched in fake news and ran on an anti-immigrant wave.
In July 2019, following Theresa May’s resignation, Johnson was appointed as Prime Minister of the UK. He belongs to the conservative party of Britain. He retained his Prime ministership as the conservative party got an overall majority in the UK general elections in Dec 2019.
The choice of Republic day guests in Modi times is seen more to do with their allegiance to right-wing politics than any political or strategic interests. When Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil was chosen for Republic day 2020, it shocked many. Bolsonaro a far-right leader is known for his sexist, misogynist, homophobic comments and is an admirer of military dictatorship.
Boris Johnson is no different and has a history of racist and homophobic and bigoted comments.
Both Bolsonaro and Boris Johnson’s unscientific views and approach on the COVID19 pandemic have led to very high mortality in Brazil and the UK respectively.