Britain Prime Minister Boris Johnson accepted the invitation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations on 26 January, 2021 in New Delhi, informed UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Tuesday.
“UK PM Johnson has also accepted the very generous invitation to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations in January, which is a great honour,” said Britain’s foreign secretary.
With this, Johnson becomes the second UK prime minister to attend the event after John Major in 1993.
On his part, India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar said Johnson accepting the invitation for the Republic Day was, in a way, symbolic of a new era in Indo-UK ties.
Along with that, Raab also added that Johnson has invited PM Modi to join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year.
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.
In the wake of Brexit, the UK has been looking at ramping up trade with leading economies like India. There have been apprehensions that its separation from the European Union without a trade deal could severely cripple its financial markets and may have long-term implications for its economy.
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 Yediyurappa on December 17.
The development comes along with the news that Johnson will travel to India in January, his first bilateral visit since taking office, to try to strengthen trade and investment ties and work together on tackling climate change, his office said
Since leaving the European Union in January, Johnson wants to promote what he calls “global Britain”, hoping to boost ties with countries further afield and attracting new foreign investment to a country badly hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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,” 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.”