Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson is likely to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in January 2021 in the backdrop on Delhi’s growing ties with Europe including in the Indo-Pacific region.The invite was extended during the telephonic conversation that took place between the two sides on November 27, it has been learnt. "The leaders reiterated their shared desire to impart a quantum jump to the India-UK partnership in the post-Covid, post-Brexit era, and agreed that there was tremendous potential for enhancing collaboration in trade and investment, scientific research, mobility of professionals and students, and defence and security," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said in a statement on the phone conversation.
The last UK PM to have been invited as the Chief Guest for the Republic Day was John Major in 1993. Earlier during the 1950s & 1960s leaders from UK were Chief Guests during the Republic Day celebrations including Queen Elizabeth II. ohnson in his previous avatar as British foreign secretary in the government led by then British Prime Minister Theresa May had campaigned hard for an India-UK trade deal that would be ready for signature with the UK’s exit from the EU. With India sitting out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that clubs together the 10 South-East Asian Nations with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, analysts in India have argued for pacts with groupings such as the EU and Britain.Earlier, acting British High Commissioner to India Jan Thompson, in a media interaction had indicated to "in-person" visit to India by the British premier. Meanwhile, Spokesperson of the British High Commission here said, "We can't confirm one way or other. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is keen to visit India as soon as possible.”