Egypt's President Abdel Fattah will be Republic Day chief guest
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced on Sunday that Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will be the chief guest at India's Republic Day celebration in January 2023. According to the official statement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a formal invitation to the Egyptian president al-Sisi through External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar handed over to him on October 16.
Why does this story matter?
- According to reports, this would be the first time that the Egyptian president would be the chief guest at the Republic Day ceremonies in India.
- Notably, Egypt will also be one of nine guest countries at the G20 Summit under India's leadership in 2023.
- India will formally take over the G20 leadership from the current chair, Indonesia on December 1.
EAM Jaishankar handed over the invitation
According to The Tribune, EAM Jaishankar visited Cairo last month and presented PM Modi's invitation and "personal message" to al-Sisi. Earlier, India asked Egypt to attend as a guest country in G20 meetings commencing December 1 during India's year-long leadership. India and Egypt enjoy diplomatic ties for the last 75th years and the invitation will likely strengthen them further.
How did Egypt Foreign Ministry react?
Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said India's invitation to Egypt "reflects the historic relations" between the two countries and the people. "The gesture embodies Egypt's regional and international position and influential role regarding the main international economic issues and files," he said. Notably, Egypt's Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Ragy El-Etreby will be Al-Sisi's personal representative at the G20 summit.
No foreign chief guest on R-Day for two years
Leaders of friendly nations have graced India's Republic Day celebrations since 1950. Former Indonesian President Sukarno was the first to be invited as the chief guest. In 2021 and this year, India's main Republic Day event had no foreign chief guest due to COVID-19. In 1952, 1953, and 1966 also, the R-Day celebrations were held without a foreign leader as chief guest.
India's tradition to invite top foreign guests
For Republic Day, India has a long tradition of welcoming notable foreign dignitaries. In 2018, the entire ASEAN leadership, comprised of 10 heads of state, attended the event. The chief guest in 2020 was Jair Bolsonaro, the then-Brazilian President. Former US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and former French Presidents Nicholas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande also attended the event as chief guests.