HM will be chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations. On the invitation of the President of the Republic of India, Pranab Mukherjee, His Majesty the King leaves Thimphu tomorrow on a seven-day state visit to India. The highlight of the visit is India’s 64th anniversary Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi, which His Majesty will attend as the chief guest on January 26.
The Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin, said the invitation letter from the Indian president was personally handed over to His Majesty by the external foreign minister, Salman Khurshid, during his recent visit to Bhutan on January 14-15. The Republic Day of India commemorates the day on which the Constitution of India came into force, replacing the Government of India Act 1935 as the governing document of India on January 26, 1950.
In New Delhi, Republic Day is celebrated with a grand parade that starts from the Raisina Hill in the neighbourhood of the majestic Rashtrapati Bhawan, passes along Rajpath and ends at India Gate. Martyrs and heroes are remembered and conferred prestigious and significant awards, including Kirti Chakra and Ashok Chakra by the President on Republic Day. On January 25 His Majesty, who is accompanied by Her Majesty the Queen, will be presented a ceremonial welcome that includes a salute by the colourful cavalry brigade, a guard of honour by the Indian army, navy, and air force, and a 21-gun salute at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Later in the evening President Mukherjee is scheduled to host a banquet in honour of His Majesty. During the visit from January 23-30, His Majesty is scheduled to meet the President, the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and other senior officials of the government of India. The state visit will greatly deepen the friendship between the governments and the peoples of Bhutan and India, a news release from the Bhutanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
His Majesty will be accompanied by the minister-in-charge for foreign affairs, Khandu Wangchuk, the finance minister Wangdi Norbu, the royal privy council chairman, C Dorji, and other senior officials of the Bhutanese government. This will be His Majesty’s third state visit to India after his coronation in November 2008.