British PM Boris Johnson has accepted India's invitation to be the Chief Guest for Republic Day Parade, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and EAM Subrahmanyam Jaishankar announced on Tuesday. The announcement came while Raab is on a precursor tour of India to lay the groundwork for the prime ministerial-level talks.
Prime Minister Modi formally extended the invitation to him during a phone call last month.
"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 Modi and I have pledged to achieve," said British PM Johnson.
Jaishankar said Johnson accepting the invitation for the Republic Day was, in a way, symbolic of a new era in Indo-UK ties.
Boris' visit to India would be his first major bilateral visit since taking office last year and the first since Britain's exit from the European Union. Downing Street has identified trade and investment, defence and security, health and climate change as some of the priority areas of focus on both sides for a visit in the New Year.
Johnson will be the second British Prime Minister to attend the annual Republic Day parade as Guest of Honour, after the former PM John Major in 1993.
Not only has the British PM accepted PM Modi's invitation, but he also invited India to attend the UK's G7 Summit as one of three guest nations, alongside South Korea and Australia.
"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 in a press conference during his three-day visit to India.
In 2021, the UK will host both the G7 Leaders' Meeting and COP26 Summits, as well as a global education conference aimed at getting girls into school, and an event to mark the first meeting of the UN General Assembly in London in 1946.
The copy was updated to incorporate the latest developments.
First Published: IST