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R-Day celebs sans Chief guest! Covid 19 surge the reason:

The Republic Day celebrations on January 26 will take place without any foreign leaders as primary guests, marking the second year in a succession .An  aftermath of the Covid virus  outbreak, this has dampened the spirit of the  historic event!

The heads of the five Central Asian governments — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan – had been asked to be chief guests at the celebrations, though no formal announcement had been made.

The rapid spread of the Omicron version of the Corona virus in recent weeks, as well as the violent protests in Kazakhstan that resulted in the deaths of more than 220 people, were factors that stymied Central Asian leaders’ involvement, according to sources acquainted with the situation.

On the condition of anonymity, a diplomat from a Central Asian state stated the leaders of the five countries would be unable to attend the Republic Day ceremonies in person. The diplomat went on to say that the Central Asian republics and India are now working on a virtual summit of the six countries’ presidents to commemorate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations, though no date has been set.

Due to a lack of time, the prospect of looking at an alternative chief guest was ruled out, according to the persons cited above.

Last year, India held shortened Republic Day celebrations without a prominent guest because UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson abruptly cancelled his visit due to the rapid spread of a Corona virus strain in the United Kingdom. It is highly rare for the Republic Day celebrations, which are regarded as a high point in the diplomatic calendar of the country, to be devoid of a chief visitor.

The last time there was no chief guest at the celebrations before 2021 was in 1966, when Indira Gandhi was sworn in as Prime Minister on January 24 after the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri on January 11. In 1952 and 1953, there were no chief guests at the ceremonies.

Despite the fact that no formal announcements about this year’s major guests have been made, Turkmenistan’s foreign minister, Rashid Meredov, hinted at it when speaking at the India-Central Asia Dialogue in New Delhi on December 19. The debate, Meredov said in his opening remarks, will be a “important event in the preparation process for the upcoming Central Asia-India Summit in January.”

The invitation extended to the leaders of the ten members of the Association of Southeast      Asian Nations (Asean)  were to be the chief guests at the occasion though no formal announcement had been made on this. India considers the Central Asian states to be part of its extended neighbourhood, and their relevance has grown since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan.

India has increased its efforts in recent years to improve connectivity and trade with the strategically crucial region. The six countries pressed for coordinated action against all terror groups at the India-Central Asia Dialogue, emphasising that no terror strikes should be planned or carried out on Afghan land. They also promised to help the Afghan people with humanitarian aid.



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