India reportedly invites UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to be the chief guest for Republic Day

India reportedly invites UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to be the chief guest for Republic Day
UK's Prime Minister Boris JohnsonBCCL
  • India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reportedly asked UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day on January 26.
  • The development comes amid India mulling over the possibility of acquiring the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
  • However, there are concerns around the country’s cold storage infrastructure not being sufficient to support a COVID-19 vaccine that requires sub-zero temperatures to survive.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reportedly invited UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to be the chief guest at the country’s Republic Day celebrations on January 26. The Hindustan Times report indicates that Modi invited his counterpart over a call on November 27.

The UK High Commission in India spokesperson could not confirm or deny whether Johnson will be attending, or if an invitation was even issued. “We can’t confirm one way or another, PM Boris Johnson is keen to visit India as soon as possible,” they told ANI.

A tweet posted by Prime Minister Modi on November 27 confirms that he spoke to his counterpart in the UK.

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This move comes at a time when India is “examining its strategy” when it comes to procuring Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, which received approval for mass immunisation from the UK government on December 1.

UK approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

India may be looking into procuring the vaccine, but the primary issue remains that the country’s cold chain storage infrastructure is not equipped to handle a vaccine that requires a minus 70 degree celsius temperature to support itself.

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This is one reason why the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca is the preferred option.

However, Pfizer has claimed that even when the vaccine thaws, it can survive at temperatures of between two to eight degrees celsius for up to five days.

US’ new president will take charge in January

India’s Republic Day will also be taking place just six days after the US President-elect Joe Biden gets sworn into office.
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Just as the India-US relationship has gained prominence due to the looming anti-China sentiment, Britain too, is waiting to see how its relationship with Washington pans out post-Brexit under the Biden administration.

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