India on Thursday said there has been no change with regard to the invitation to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to be the chief guest at next year’s Republic Day celebrations in the wake of the detection of a new and more infectious Covid-19 variant in the UK.
UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab had announced the acceptance of India’s invitation to Johnson during a recent visit to New Delhi.
Asked whether the spread of the new variant of coronavirus in the UK, which has already resulted in several countries restricting the entry of travellers from Britain, would affect the invitation to Johnson, ministry of external affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said there had been no change.
“We had invited the prime minister of the UK as chief guest of the Republic Day parade in 2021. And when UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab was here, he had publicly confirmed his acceptance,” Srivatava told a weekly news briefing.
“So we look forward to welcoming the prime minister here,” he said.
During Raab’s visit, India and the UK agreed on key elements of a 10-year roadmap to enhance the bilateral relationship and pledged to fast track talks on a free trade agreement.
Raab also said Britain’s upcoming integrated strategic review, to be published in 2021, will contain an “Indo-Pacific tilt” that will be as much about managing the challenges arising from China’s assertive actions as it is about taking advantage of opportunities across the region.
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