UK PM’s 2021 visit as India’s Republic Day chief guest signify a new era in ties

Marking a high moment in the post-Brexit India-UK relations, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be the Chief Guest at the 71st Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi in 2021.Mr Johnson will be the second British PM to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations after John Major in 1993. It will be his first visit to India since taking office in 2019. According to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, both leaders are expected to hold discussions on a wide range of bilateral issues, including strengthening trade and investments and tackling climate change. 

Quantum Leap

“UK PM Johnson has accepted the very generous invitation to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations in January, which is a great honor,” Mr Raab, who is on a visit to India from December 14-17, said after meeting his counterpart S. Jaishankar in New Delhi. He added that Mr Johnson has invited PM Modi to join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year. On his part, Mr Jaishankar said that Mr Johnson’s acceptance of the invitation was “symbolic of a new era in Indo-UK ties”. The UK has been looking at ramping up trade relations with India and other economies even as it continues to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union. These talks hold significance amid growing concerns in some quarters that a separation from the EU without a trade agreement could cripple the British economy in the long-term.

“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 (Narendra) Modi and I have pledged to achieve,” Mr Johnson said in a statement.“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.”South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was the Chief Guest at the 70th Republic Day celebrations in 2019.



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