For the second consecutive year, India will not have a foreign leader as the chief guest at its Republic Day parade.
Sources told UNB that a tentative decision was taken not to invite a foreign dignitary as the chief guest at this year's Republic Day parade due to the rising cases of Covid in the country.
Last year too, India did not have a foreign leader as the chief guest at its Republic Day parade -- for the first time in five decades.
India honours January 26 every year, the day on which the country's Constitution came into effect in 1950, replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document and thus, turning the nation into a newly formed republic.
However, like last year, India has decided to scale down the Republic Day parade this year in the wake of Covid. The spectator strength has been brought down to 24,000 from 1,15,000 in pre-Covid times, sources said.
Last year, India invited British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the Republic Day parade, but he cancelled his visit a fortnight before amid a surge in Covid cases at home.
In 1966 too, India did not invite any foreign leader was due to the sudden demise of then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, following which Indira Gandhi was sworn in as the country's first female PM on January 24 that year, two days ahead of Republic Day.