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Covid impact: No chief guest at Republic Day parade, Central Asian leadership to meet virtually

India Today logo India Today 18-01-2022 Geeta Mohan

The Republic Day event this year will have no foreign dignitary as chief guest.

India had invited the leaderships of the five Central Asian nations (CA-5) to be chief guests at the Republic Day celebrations on January 26. But, in the wake of the surge in Covid infections driven by the Omicron variant of coronavirus in the third phase of the pandemic, New Delhi will not be hosting the leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.

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The invitation was extended to the leaders during the third meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his counterparts representing the CA-5.

This is the second year in a row that high-level visits during the Republic Day celebrations had to be cancelled.

Last year, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had accepted the invitation to participate in the Republic Day celebrations but cancelled at the last minute after the world took the worst hit of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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India Today has learnt that the meeting with the CA-5 leadership will move to virtual mode to celebrate the 30 years of ties. The meeting is likely to take place on January 26. However, it may change as six nations are involved.

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