After UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called-off his India visit in light of the new strain of coronavirus in that country, the Indian-origin President of Republic of Suriname, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, is likely to be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade on January 26.
According to a report in News18 citing sources, Santokhi will be attending the parade at Rajpath on January 26. Earlier this week, he was the chief guest at the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, where he delivered a keynote address and had expressed willingness to end visa permits between India and Suriname, advocating for a free movement of people between the two countries. “Suriname is prepared to take the first step in doing so by ending visa permits for visitors from India to Suriname,” Santokhi had said during his virtual address at the event organised by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). He had also underlined the strategic importance of ties between the two countries and said that Surname was a part of India’s soft power and vice versa. Santokhi was sworn-in as the President of Suriname in July, 2020 after his party – Progressive Reform Party won the elections and ended the dictatorship of Dési Bouterse. Interestingly, the party was previously known as United Hindustani Party due to its representation of the Indo-Surinamese community.