With COVID-19 cases still on the rise ahead of the Republic Day of India, the country’s government is considering putting off plans to invite the leaders of five Central Asian nations as the chief guests to the parade, and holding a summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually in Delhi this month, the Indian newspaper The Hindu reported on Saturday.
The emergency plans and a number of options to decrease the size of the Republic Day parade on January 26 and audience were discussed at a meeting chaired by Modi on Saturday.
According to officials involved in the planning of Republic Day events, a proposal has been sent to the five leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to attend a videoconference summit, in case there is no let-up in the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
The Presidents of the Central Asian countries – Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Sadyr Japarov, Emomali Rahmon, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Shavkat Mirziyoyev – are due to attend the India-Central Asia Summit on January 25 in Delhi.
If the contingency proposal goes into effect, the summit would be held as scheduled but via video conference format, as several others have been since the global pandemic first broke out in early 2020.
Republic Day of India is a holiday when the country marks and celebrates the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on January 26, 1950.