South African President Cyril Ramaphosa likely to be Republic Day 2019's chief guest
New Delhi, Nov 15: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will be the chief guest for the Republic Day parade 2019. Ramaphosa's office has reportedly accepted India's invitation.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
Ramaphosa, who was Nelson Mandela's choice for future President of South Africa, is a keen Gandhi follower. In April this year, Ramaphosa led nearly 5,000 people at the annual ‘Gandhi Walk' in Lenasia, an Indian township south of Johannesburg, seeking to promote community awareness and fitness, said an Indian Express report.
US President Donald Trump
The Union Government had to cut a sorry figure earlier after US President Donald Trump turned down India's invitation citing scheduling constraints.
India, in April this year, had officially sent the Republic Day invite to the US president. The US authorities reportedly sent a letter to NSA Ajit Doval confirming that the US President Donald Trump will not be attending the 26th January parade in 2019.
Here is a list previous Republic Day parade chief guests:
2018 - Heads of ASEAN states (10 guests)
2017 - Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (United Arab Emirates)
2016 - President François Hollande (France)
2015 - President Barack Obama (United States)
2014 - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (Japan)
2013 - King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (Bhutan)
2012 - Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (Thailand)
2011 - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Indonesia)
2010 President Lee Myung Bak (South Korea)
Some nteresting facts about past guests who graced R-Day parade
- First Republic Day parade was held in 1950. Indonesia President Sukarno was the chief guest.
- Pakistan was invited twice : Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad was the first guest for the parade at Rajpath in 1955. Food and Agriculture Minister Rana Abdul Hamid was invited in 1965
- India did not have guests in 1966. For the first time, the President of India (S. Radhakrishnan) could not take the salute at the Republic Day parade due to ill-health. Zahir Shah arrived on 28 January.
- For the first time, India invited two guests in 1956. Chancellor of the Exchequer R. A. Butler from the United Kingdom and Chief Justice Kōtarō Tanaka from Japan attended the parade.
- The United Kingdom and France have been invited for five times each. This is the highest number of invitation for any country so far.