Republic Day chief guest UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancels India visit, says report

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Updated: January 05, 2021 10:09 PM

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancels India visit: Reuters reported that Boris Johnson has said that he need to be in the country to oversee Coronavirus response.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was the chief guest at Republic Day, has cancelled his visit to India(Reuters image/File)

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was the chief guest at Republic Day, has cancelled his visit to India, reports said on Tuesday.

Reuters reported that Boris Johnson has said that he need to be in the country to oversee Coronavirus response.

Also Read — Republic Day 2021: Boris Johnson to be chief guest at R-Day ceremony, confirms UK Foreign Secretary 

The British Prime Minister spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed his regret over not being able to visit India as planned for Republic Day on January 26 due to the growing Covid-19 crisis, PTI reported.

A Downing Street spokesperson was quoted saying: “The Prime Minister spoke to Prime Minister Modi this morning, to express his regret that he will be unable to visit India later this month as planned. In light of the national lockdown announced last night, and the speed at which the new coronavirus variant is spreading, the Prime Minister said that it was important for him to remain in the UK so he can focus on the domestic response to the virus.”

Boris Johnson has indicated that his India visit would take place during the first half of this year and before the G7 summit presided over by the UK, planned for later this year. “The Prime Minister said that he hopes to be able to visit India in the first half of 2021, and ahead of the UK’s G7 Summit that Prime Minister Modi is due to attend as a guest,” the Downing Street spokesperson added.

Also Read — UK PM Boris Johnson warns COVID-19 lockdown may get tougher

On Monday, Johnson addressed Britain in a televised address to plunge the country into a new stay-at-home lockdown as his medical chiefs warned that the National Health Service (NHS) was under threat of being overwhelmed by the rising Coronavirus infection rates.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who was on India visit last month, had confirmed that Johnson would be the chief guest at the Republic Day ceremony on January 26. “I am pleased that PM Boris Johnson has invited PM Modi to join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year. UK Prime Minister Johnson has also accepted the very generous invitation to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations in January, which is a great honour,” UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said during a press conference.

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