No chief guest at R-Day, first time in 55 years
NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: India will not have a chief guest at the Republic Day parade for the first time since 1966 because of the pandemic. But for the first time, a contingent from the Bangladesh Army will march down Rajpath on January 26, said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava at the weekly media briefing here on Thursday.
Sources said it was decided not to have a chief guest after the proposal to draft Surinam President Chan Santokhi as a last minute replacement for UK PM Boris Johnson fell through. At the previous last minute pullout during the UPA regime, New Delhi had managed to persuade the King of Bhutan to do the honours. In the initial years, no chief guest was invited in 1952 and 1952, barely two years after the Nehru government had tried to make it a regular practice.
The Bangladesh Army’s participation will be the second time foreign soldiers will participate in the march past after a French Army contingent in 2016.