British PM to be chief guest at Republic Day



British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will visit India in January to be the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade, United Kingdom (UK) Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced on December 15 after holding talks with his Indian counterpart, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

Addressing a joint press conference after the talks, Jaishankar said the two sides held four hours of discussion on a wide range of issues and focus has been on how to take the bilateral ties to a higher level.

“In recent years as you know, there have been very big changes in global politics and we both believe that our interests are better served by working together more effectively,” he said and added that important issues, including the situation in Afghanistan as also developments in the Gulf and evolution of the Indo-Pacific region, were discussed.

Jaishankar said challenges posed by terrorism and radicalism which are shared concerns were also discussed during the talks.

“Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year. The UK Prime Minister has also accepted the very generous invitation to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations (as a chief guest) in January, which is a great honour,” Raab said.

Jaishankar said Johnson accepting the invitation for the Republic Day was symbolic of a new era in Indo-UK ties.

Raab’s three-day visit to India from December 14-17 comes at a time the UK is holding complex negotiations with the European Union on reaching a post Brexit trade deal.

The British foreign secretary is scheduled to meet Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar and Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal.

Raab will also travel to Bengaluru, where he will meet Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa on December 17.