South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to be the chief guest for Republic Day celebrations in 2019.
Ramaphosa was invited to be the chief guest by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the two leaders met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires.
The announcement comes a little over a month after US President Donald Trump declined India’s invitation to be the chief guest. President Trump’s administration had said he has a “crowded agenda” and can’t be in India for the Republic Day.
This year, in a first, the chief guest at Republic Day celebrations were the 10 heads of state from ASEAN or Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a regional grouping of 10 Southeast Asian countries (Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei).
The chief guest at India’s first Republic Day on January 26, 1950 was the President of Indonesia, and since then, five other Southeast Asian leaders have chief guests at the Republic Day parades.