Explained: How the chief guest for Republic Day parade is picked?
New Delhi, Jan 26: India celebrated the 71st Republic Day on Sunday with a grand military parade and exhibition of its history, cultural diversity and strategic weaponry at the Rajpath.
This year, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, was India's chief guest on Republic Day.
But, have you ever wondered how India chooses its the chief guest for Republic Day?
The visit of the chief guest is actually similar to a State visit, in that, it is the highest honour that can be bestowed on our guest in terms of protocol.
He/ she is given the ceremonial guard of honour at Rashtrapati Bhavan, attends the evening reception hosted by the President of India and lays a wreath at Rajghat, Mahatma Gandhi's memorial.
The process of selecting Republic Day chief guest begins six months ahead of the Republic Day celebration where in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) carefully scrutinizes India's relations with the concerned country, and then sends an invite to their Head of State.
The MEA considers, political and economic relations, commercial relations, and military cooperation, and the strong emotional attachment with the Non Aligned Movement (NAM).
NAM was a movement joined by most newly liberated countries to collectively fight colonialism and apartheid.
After considering all this, the MEA seeks the Prime Minister's approval, followed by the Rashtrapati Bhavan's clearance.
After the potential chief guest is shortlisted, India's ambassadors in the concerned countries then try to ascertain the chief guest's appointments and availability for the Republic Day.
The Indian Chief of Protocol (CoP) and his counterpart in the concerned country work out a detailed plan chalking out the logistics, security, and medical requirements of the programmes as the ministry works towards agreements between the two nations.
It is also learnt that the chief guest is also decided on the basis of the other country's interest and availability of the dignitary.
Republic day 2020: List of all Chief Guests from the year 2010-2020
2010: President Lee Myung Bak from Republic of Korea
2011: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono from Indonesia
2012: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from Thailand
2013: King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck from Bhutan
2014: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from Japan
2015: President Barack Obama from United States
2016: President François Hollande from France
2017: Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed from United Arab Emirates
2018: Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah from Brunei
- Joko Widodo from Indonesia
- Thongloun Sisoulith from Laos
- Prime Minister Hun Sen from Cambodia
- Najib Razak from Malaysia
- President Htin Kyaw from Myanmar
- Rodrigo Roa Duterte from Philippines
- Halimah Yacob from Singapore
- Prayuth Chan-ocha from Thailand
- Nguyễn Xuân Phúc from Vietnam
- President Cyril Ramaphosa from South Africa
Other world leaders who have attended the celebrations include Nepal's King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev in 1999, Iranian President Mohammed Khatami in 2003, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2011 and President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in 1991.