Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Thursday joined a select group of world leaders to have graced India’s Republic Day celebrations. Sisi, as the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations, watched the colourful parade at the majestic Kartavya Path along with President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of other leaders.
It was the first time that an Egyptian president is the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations. Sisi held wide-ranging talks with Modi on Wednesday, a day after he arrived here on a three-day visit. Every year, India invites world leaders to attend its Republic Day celebrations. There was no Republic Day Chief guest in 2021 and 2022 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, then Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations. In 2019, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was the chief guest at the Republic Day parade, while in 2018, leaders of all 10 ASEAN countries attended the celebrations.
In 2017, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the chief guest at celebrations, while then French President Francois Hollande graced the occasion in 2016.In 2015, then US President Barack Obama watched the parade.
In 2014, then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the chief guest at the celebrations, while Bhutan king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck attended the parade in 2013.The heads of state and government who have attended the Republic Day celebrations include Nicolas Sarkozy, Vladimir Putin, Nelson Mandela, John Major, Mohammed Khatami and Jacques Chirac.
The then British Prime Minister John Major had attended the celebrations in 1993, Nelson Mandela participated as then South African President in 1995 while South Korean President President Lee Myung Bak witnessed the parade in 2010.In 2008, Sarkozy participated in the celebrations as French President, while another French President Chirac graced the occasion in 1998.
Other world leaders who have attended the celebrations include Nepal’s King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev in 1999, Iran’s then President Mohammed Khatami in 2003, then Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2011 and President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in 1991.