United Kingdom government Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad has confirmed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is coming to India as the Chief Guest for the 2021 Republic Day celebrations.

Lord Tariq Ahmad, Minister of State -Foreign Commonwealth & Development Affairs, South Asia, Commonwealth, took to Twitter and tweeted, “An important trip laying the groundwork for @BorisJohnson’s visit next month. @DominicRaab is absolutely right – we want an even stronger relationship with India, as part of our work in the Indo-Pacific region.’’

He also tagged DominicRaab, the UK Foreign Secretary, in his tweet. His tweet assumes significance in light of media reports suggesting that Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson might not come to India because of concerns over the rapidly spreading mutated version of the novel coronavirus in that country,

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the Chair of the Council of the British Medical Association, has told TV news channel it was still too early for the British government to decide on Johnson’s visit.

The trip “may not be possible, particularly if this level of infection and spread continues”, he added. The new COVID-19 strain is concentrated in the capital city of London and England’s south-east.

It was earlier reported that the United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accepted India’s invite to be the chief guest for the 2021 Republic Day.

The invite was extended during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to UK PM last week. The telephonic talks that happened on November 27, focused on COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and other related issues.

Earlier in November, acting British High Commissioner to India, Jan Thompson, said Boris Johnson will soon make an ‘in person’ visit to India.

She said, “We are expecting UK Foreign secretary Dominic Raab will be paying an in-person visit to India in the next few months. Beyond that, PM Boris Johnson is very very keen to come to India. So we hope, over the next few months, we will visit, by both FS Raab and PM Johnson.”

Johnson is scheduled to travel to India in January 2021 as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in Delhi. The visit, as of now, will be the first in-person visit of any head of government to India. High-level physical visits have been suspended globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The last world leader to visit India was the President of Myanmar Win Myint and US President Donald Trump in February.