Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in January, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Sunday.
“This is the first time that the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt will be the Chief Guest at our Republic Day,” the MEA said in a statement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sent a formal invitation to al-Sisi which was handed over to the Egyptian President by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on October 16.
Both countries are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year.
Egypt has been invited as a ‘guest country’ during India’s presidency of the G20 in 2022-23, according to the statement.
“India and Egypt enjoy warm and friendly relations based on civilisational and deep-rooted people-to-people ties,” the statement said.
An invitation to be the Republic Day chief guest is highly symbolic from the Indian government’s perspective. New Delhi has been weaving a strategy with hospitality to decide its chief guest for the Republic Day. The choice of chief guest every year is dictated by a number of reasons — strategic and diplomatic, business interests and international geo-politics.
India was unable to have any foreign leader as the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations in 2021 and 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2022, leaders of five Central Asian countries were invited as chief guests for the Republic Day parade and celebrations on January 26, but they couldn’t come due to the Covid-19 pandemic’s Omicron wave.
In 2021, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to cancel his presence at the Republic Day celebrations due to a raging Covid wave in the UK, and India had no Republic Day chief guest in January 2021.