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No foreign dignitary as chief guest at R-Day due to the pandemic: Ministry

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 14, 2021 Published on January 14, 2021

The Indian national flag flies high during the 71st Republic Day celebration at Rajpath in New Delhi on Sunday   -  PTI

Too early to give specific response on supply of Covid-19 vaccine to other countries, says spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry

India will not have a foreign dignitary as chief guest at its Republic Day celebrations this year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of External Affairs has said.

"Due to the global Covid-19 situation, it has been decided that this year there will not be a foreign head of State or head of government as chief guest for our Republic Day event," MEA spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava, said at a media briefing on Thursday.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was initially supposed to be the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations this year, but he had to cancel his proposed visit to India because of the deteriorating pandemic situation in his country.

Supply of vaccine overseas

On India's plans to supply Covid-19 vaccines to Brazil, Bangladesh and other countries, Srivastava said the PM had already stated that the country's vaccine production and delivery capacity would be used for the benefit of humanity in fighting this crisis, but detailed plans could not be shared yet.

"As you know, the vaccination process is just starting in India. It is too early to give a specific response on the supplies to other countries as we are still assessing production schedules and availability to take decisions in this regard. This may take some time," he said.

The spokesperson confirmed that the Foreign Minister of Nepal, Pradip Kumar Gyawali, had arrived in New Delhi on Thursday and would co-chair the sixth session of the India-Nepal Joint Commission Meeting, to be hosted by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday.

"The Joint Commission is an important mechanism that provides an opportunity for a high level review of the entire gamut of our bilateral partnership and providing political guidance to further enhance the special and unique ties that we enjoy. We look forward to constructive discussions on the numerous sectors that encompass our bilateral agenda," he said.

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Published on January 14, 2021
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