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Boris Johnson cancels Jan 26 India visit citing pandemic in UK

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New Delhi, Jan 05: UK President, Boris Johnson has cancelled his visit to India, a Reuters report said.

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A Downing Street spokesperson said:, Athe Prime Minister spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi this morning, to express his regret that he will be unable to visit India later this month as planned. He cited the need to oversee the pandemic situation in the UK.

Boris Johnson cancels Jan 26 India visit citing pandemic in UK

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a telephonic conversation today with Johnson. Prime Minister Johnson reiterated his thanks for India''s invitation for him as the Chief Guest of the forthcoming Republic Day celebrations, but regretted his inability to attend in view of the changed COVID-19 context prevailing in the UK. He reiterated his keenness to visit India in the near future," a release from the Prime Minister''s office in New Delhi said.

"Prime Minister (Modi) expressed his understanding of the exceptional situation in the UK, and conveyed his best wishes for the quick control of the pandemic spread. He looked forward to receiving Prime Minister Johnson in India at the earliest opportunity after normalisation of the situation," the PMO said.

There was a lot of speculation regarding Johnson's visit as the UK sees the strictest restrictions in months over the new mutants strain of coronavirus. Johnson had last month said that he had accepted India's very generous invite to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.

Johnson "will use his visit to India to boost cooperation in areas that matter to the UK and that will be priorities for our international engagement throughout 2021 - from trade and investment, to defence and security, and health and climate change, his office had said last month.

The Republic Day this year will be of shorter duration. The marching contingent will be smaller and the cultural performances will be fewer.

The number of spectators too be reduced at Rajpath on January 26. The overall traditional character of the parade would however be maintained despite the restrictions. A contingent of the Bangladesh armed forces will take part in the parade in view of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the 1971 war of liberation.

The parade will begin from Vijay Chowk. However this year it would culminate at the National Stadium instead of ending at the Red Fort. This means that the parade which normally covers 8.2 kilometres will only 3.3 kilometres this year.

round 25,000 spectators will be allowed to witness the parade as compared to the average of 1.3 lakh people every year. There would be no permit for elders with Co-morbidities and children below the age of 15.

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