Due to the COVID pandemic, no foreign guest will probably be current at India’s republic day parade, one thing that has been one of many highlights of the annual occasion celebrating the nation’s range at the guts of Delhi.
Announcing the event, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava mentioned, “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 prolonged an invitation to UK PM Boris Johnson to be the guest at the Republic day who had accepted and confirmed that he could be be coming. But earlier this month he had knowledgeable the Indian PM of his lack of ability to return because of the new pressure of covid virus that had emerged within the UK.
This is the 4th time in historical past that no foreign guest will probably be current on Republic Day. The final time it had occurred was within the yr 1966, and earlier than that in 1953 and 1952.
The selection of the Republic Day guest showcases New Delhi’s closeness with the nation. Indian PM Modi had invited US President Barack Obama because the chief guest in 2015, which despatched the message of rising ties Delhi Washington partnership. In 2018, all members of the ASEAN grouping had been invited, creating historical past since by no means earlier than 10 heads of govt/states had been current at the parade collectively.
Johnson had on January 4 ordered England into a brand new nationwide lockdown to comprise a surge in COVID-19 circumstances that threatens to overwhelm components of the well being system earlier than a vaccine programme reaches a crucial mass.
The announcement got here simply hours after the federal government hailed Britain’s success in changing into the primary nation to start rolling out the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca towards COVID-19.
Johnson mentioned a brand new, extra contagious variant of the coronavirus first recognized within the United Kingdom and now current in lots of different international locations was spreading at nice pace and rapid motion was wanted to sluggish it down.
“As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from COVID than any time since the start of the pandemic,” Johnson mentioned in a televised deal with to the nation.
“With most of the country already under extreme measures, it’s clear that we need to do more together to bring this new variant under control,” he mentioned.
“We must therefore go into a national lockdown, which is tough enough to contain this variant. That means the government is once again instructing you to stay at home.”
Non-essential outlets and hospitality must stay closed, whereas main and secondary colleges would shut from Tuesday for all pupils besides susceptible kids and people whose mother and father are key employees.
(With Reuters inputs)