South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to be chief guest at Republic Day celebrations 2019

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will be chief guest at India’s 70th Republic Day celebrations on 26 January 2019. Mr Ramaphosa was invited to be chief guest by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when two leaders met on sidelines of G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The announcement comes month after US President Donald Trump declined India’s invitation to be chief guest. The reason citied was “scheduling constraints” of President.

Significacne of Republic Day

It honours date on which Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950 replacing Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India. Constitution was adopted by Indian Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949 and came into effect on 26 January 1950, completing the country’s transition towards becoming an independent republic. 26 January was chosen as Republic day because it was on this day in 1930 when Purna Swaraj (Declaration of Indian Independence) was proclaimed by Indian National Congress (INC) at Lahore session 1929 as opposed to Dominion status offered by British Regime.

Republic Day parade

On 26 January every year, Republic Day parade is held at Rajpath, New Delhi. It is largest and most important of the parades in India. The parade showcases India’s defence capability and its cultural and social heritage. It is conducted under control Union Defence Ministry
2018 Republic Day
For first time in history of Republic Day celebrations, 10 heads of state were chief guest at a time. They were from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a regional grouping of 10 Southeast Asian countries comprising of 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 President of Indonesia and since then five other Southeast Asian leaders have chief guests at Republic Day parades.
Earlier Chief guests of Republic Day parades
2017- Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Crown prince of Abu Dhabi), 2016- Francois Hollande (President of France), 2015-Barack Obama (US President), 2014- Shinzo Abe (Japanese Prime Minister), 2013-Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (King of Bhutan), 2012-Yingluck Shinawatra (Then Prime Minister of Thailand), 2011- Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (Then President of Indonesia).

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