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List of all Chief Guests on Indian Republic Day Parades (1950–2021)

On 14 January 2021, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced that there will be no foreign leader as a Chief Guest for the celebrations of the Republic Day parade due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This will for the first time in over five decades that the country will not have a Chief Guest at the Republic Day event. 

In 2020, India had invited the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson to be the Chief Guest for the Republic Day parade on 26 January 2021.

The UK Foreign Office released a statement that the decision to cancel the visit was taken in view of the COVID-19 pandemic that has escalated in the United Kingdom because of the new strain of the coronavirus.

Earlier, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson accepted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's invitation to be the Chief Guest at the 2021 Republic Day. If British PM Boris Johnson would not have cancelled his visit to India, he would have become the first PM of the UK since John Major in 1993 and the sixth PM from the UK to be the Guest of Honour at the event. Also, the UK would have become the only country whose leaders have been Chief Guests at Republic Day on six occasions. 

In 2020, India and Bangladesh will celebrate 50 years of diplomatic ties and at the invitation of the government, a tri-service contingent from Bangladesh will be visiting  India in order to participate in the Republic Day parade. 

India as an independent, sovereign, and democratic country implemented its constitution on 26 January 1950. Since then, India being the Democratic Republic celebrates a grand ceremony every year to commemorate Republic Day, and a Foreign Leader is invited every year by the  Indian Government. 

The initial four Republic day parades were held at different places (Red Fort, Ramlila Grounds, Irwin Stadium, Kingsway) between 1950 to 1954. However, in 1955, Rajpath was chosen as the permanent venue for Republic Day celebrations.

On 26 January 1950, Indonesian President Sukarno was the first Chief guest on the very first Republic Day parade of India. Representatives from the United Kingdom and France have been invited 5 times each.

How Chief Guest is chosen for India's Republic Day?

The Chief Guest at India's Republic Day parade is accorded the country's highest honour in protocol terms but do you know how the Republic Day Chief Guest is chosen?

Six months prior to Republic Day, the Indian Government sends the invitation to either the Head of State or the Government subjected to the kind of relationship India has with the concerned country. 

Before sending the invitation, the approval of the Indian Prime Minister is sought in addition to the clearance from the President of India. 

Let’s have a look at the list of all the Chief Guests at the Republic Day parade;

Year

Guest Name

Country

1950

President Sukarno

Indonesia

1951

King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah    

 Nepal

1952

No invitation

 ---

1953

No invitation

 ---

1954

King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck

Bhutan

1955

Governor-General Malik Ghulam Muhammad

Pakistan

1956

Chancellor of the Exchequer R. A. Butler

 

Chief Justice Kotaro Tanaka  

 United Kingdom

Japan

1957

Minister of Defence Georgy Zhukov  

 Soviet Union

1958

Marshall Ye Jianying  

China

1959

Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip  

 United Kingdom

1960

President Kliment Voroshilov

USSR

1961

Queen Elizabeth II

United Kingdom

1962

Prime Minister Viggo Kampmann  

 Denmark

1963

King Norodom Sihanouk

Cambodia

1964

Chief of Defence Staff Lord Louis Mountbatten  

 United Kingdom

1965

Food and Agriculture Minister Rana Abdul Hamid

Pakistan

1966

No invitation

 No invitation

1967

King Mohammed Zahir Shah  

 Afghanistan

1968

Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin

USSR

President Josip Broz Tito

SFR Yugoslavia

1969

Prime Minister of Bulgaria Todor Zhivkov

Bulgaria

1970

King of the Belgians Baudouin  

 Belgium

1971

President Julius Nyerere

Tanzania

1972

Prime Minister Seewoosagur Ramgoolam

Mauritius

1973

President Mobutu Sese Seko

Zaire

1974

President Josip Broz Tito

SFR Yugoslavia

Prime Minister Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike

Sri Lanka

1975

President Kenneth Kaunda

Zambia

1976

Prime Minister Jacques Chirac

France

1977

First Secretary Edward Gierek

Poland

1978

President Patrick Hillery

Ireland

1979

Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser

Australia

1980

President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

France

1981

President José López Portillo

Mexico

1982

King Juan Carlos I

Spain

1983

President Shehu Shagari

Nigeria

1984

King Jigme Singye Wangchuck

Bhutan

1985

President Raúl Alfonsín

Argentina

1986

Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou

Greece

1987

President Alan García

Peru

1988

President Junius Jayewardene

Sri Lanka

1989

General Secretary Nguyen Van Linh

Viet Nam

1990

Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth

Mauritius

1991

President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom

Maldives

1992

President Mário Soares

Portugal

1993

Prime Minister John Major

United Kingdom

1994

Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong

Singapore

1995

President Nelson Mandela

South Africa

1996

President Dr. Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Brazil

1997

Prime Minister Basdeo Panday

Trinidad and Tobago

1998

President Jacques Chirac

France

1999

King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev

Nepal

2000

President Olusegun Obasanjo

Nigeria

2001

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Algeria

2002

President Cassam Uteem

Mauritius

2003

President Mohammed Khatami

Iran

2004

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Brazil

2005

King Jigme Singye Wangchuck

Bhutan

2006

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud[

Saudi Arabia

2007

President Vladimir Putin

Russia

2008

President Nicolas Sarkozy

France

2009

President Nursultan Nazarbayev

Kazakhstan

2010

President Lee Myung Bak

Republic of Korea

2011

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Indonesia

2012

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra

Thailand

2013

King of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck

Bhutan

2014

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japan

2015

President Barack Obama

United States

2016

President François Hollande

France

2017

Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed

United Arab Emirates

2018

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah

Joko Widodo

Thongloun Sisoulith

Prime Minister Hun Sen

Najib Razak

President Htin Kyaw

Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Halimah Yacob

Prayuth Chan-ocha

Nguyễn Xuân Phúc

Brunei

Indonesia

Laos

Cambodia

Malaysia

Myanmar

Philippines

Singapore

Thailand

Vietnam

2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa  

South Africa

2020

President Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil

2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (cancelled his visit)

United Kingdom

The main purpose of inviting a Foreign Leader is to boost bilateral relations and to show the diversity and prosperity of the Indian culture. To read more articles related to the topic, click on the links given below:

Republic Day of India 2021:Chief Guest, Parade facts, Objectives, Celebrations

13 Interesting Facts about Republic Day Parade

FAQ

Which country has the longest Constitution in the world?

Indian constitution is the longest written constitution in the world.

In which year Rajpath was chosen as the Regular venue for Republic Day Parades?

The initial four Republic day parades were held at different places (Red Fort, Ramlila Ground, Irwin Stadium, Kingsway Camp) between 1950 to 1954. In 1955, Rajpath was chosen as the regular venue for the Republic Day Parades.

Who was the first person who attended the first Republic Day parade at Rajpath?

Pakistan's Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad was the first person who attended the Republic Day parade as the Chief Guest at Rajpath in 1955.

Who was the first Chief Guest on the first Republic Day parade in India?

The Indonesian President Sukarno was the first Chief guest on the very first Republic Day parade of India.

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