Buenos Aires, December 1: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has accepted the invitation extended by India to attend the 2019 Republic Day celebrations as the Chief Guest. Although New Delhi had already received his confirmation through diplomatic channels in Cape Town, the formal acceptance was conveyed by Ramaphosa during his brief diplomatic interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the sidelines of G20 summit here.
Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, while addressing the press on Saturday, said President Ramaphosa was invited by PM Modi to attend the Republic Day celebrations next year. The invite was accepted by him, Gokhale added. Donald Trump Will Not Attend India's Republic Day 2019 Celebrations Due to 'Scheduling Constraints', Confirms White House.
"PM extended South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa invitation to be Chief Guest for India's Republic Day in 2019 and Ramaphosa accepted," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Earlier, New Delhi had reached out to their counterparts in Washington, seeking US President Donald Trump as the Chief Guest at Republic Day. The invite, however, was turned down by the White House as Trump is scheduled to deliver the State of Economy address before the US Congress around the same time next year.
"President Trump was honored by Prime Minister Modi’s invitation for him to be Chief Guest of India’s Republic Day on January 26, 2019, but is unable to participate due to scheduling constraints,” a White House spokesperson had earlier said in a statement.
The Republic Day is celebrated annually on January 26 -- marking the adoption of the Constitution by the Indian Republic on this day in 1950. To witness the Republic Day parade, a special guest is invited to Delhi each year. Last year, leaders of all 10 ASEAN countries attended the event.