- A formal invitation was sent by PM Modi to the Egypt's President
- This is the first time a President of Egypt will be the chief guest on Republic Day
- India and Egypt are celebrating 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations
Republic Day 2023: The Ministry of External Affairs confirmed on Sunday that Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi would be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in 2023.
Earlier on October 16, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar handed over the formal invitation to al-Sisi which was sent by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Al-Sisi's visit to India as the chief guest also holds importance as both countries are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year.
"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.
According to the MEA statement, Egypt has also been invited to participate as a "Guest Country" during India's G-20 Presidency in 2022–2023. "India and Egypt enjoy warm and friendly relations based on civilisational and deep-rooted people-to-people ties," the statement further read.
Foreign leaders graced Republic Day celebrations since 1950
Leaders of friendly nations have graced the Republic Day celebrations since 1950, when the then-Indonesian President Sukarno was invited as the chief guest. However, India's Republic Day celebrations were not attended by a foreign head of state in 1952, 1953, and 1966.
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was invited as the chief guest in 2021, but his visit had to be cancelled due to the rising COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom.
This year, India had invited leaders of the five Central Asian Republics, who were to visit Delhi for the India-Central Asia Summit, as chief guests for the Republic Day celebrations.
However, the visit was cancelled due to rising COVID-19 cases in India. The India-Central Asia Summit was held in a virtual format.
In 2018, the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leadership comprising 10 heads of state was present at the Republic Day parade. In 2020, the then Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro was the chief guest.
Former US President Barack Obama (2015), Russian President Vladimir Putin (2007), former French presidents Nicholas Sarkozy (2008) and Francois Hollande (2016) have also been chief guests at the Republic Day celebrations in the past.
(With PTI inputs)