New Delhi: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in January. The Ministry of External Affairs gave this information on Sunday. “This is the first time that the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt will be the chief guest on our Republic Day,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a formal invitation to al-Sisi which was received by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar handed over to the President of Egypt on 16 October. Both countries are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year. The statement said Egypt has been invited as the ‘guest country’ during India’s chairmanship of the G-20 in 2022-23. It said, ‘India and Egypt enjoy friendly relations based on deep civilizational and people-to-people ties.’
Leaders of friendly countries have been gracing the Republic Day celebrations since 1950. In 1950, Sukarno, the then President of Indonesia, was invited as the chief guest. In 1952, 1953 and 1966, no foreign leader attended the Republic Day celebrations as the chief guest. In the year 2021, the then British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was invited as the chief guest but he canceled his visit due to increasing cases of Kovid-19 in Britain. This year India invited the leaders of five Central Asian republics to the Republic Day celebrations.
At the same time, in the Republic Day celebrations in 2018, the leaders of all the 10 countries of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) were present in the Republic Day Parade. In 2020, Jair Bolsonaro, the then President of Brazil, was the chief guest. Former US President Barack Obama (2015), Russian President Vladimir Putin (2007), former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (2008) and François Hollande (2016) have also been chief guests at Republic Day celebrations in the past.