New Delhi: The United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to India has been cancelled yet another time due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday (April 19, 2021).
In response to the media queries on the upcoming visit of the UK PM, the MEA stated, “In view of the prevailing Covid situation, it has been decided by mutual agreement that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will not visit India next week.”
The official statement added that the two sides will be holding a virtual meeting in the coming days to launch plans for a transformed India-U.K. relationship.
“Both leaders attach the highest importance to taking the India-U.K. partnership to its fullest potential and propose to remain in close touch in this regard and look forward to an in-person meeting later in the year.”
Johnson’s visit to India was scheduled for April 26 and would have been his first visit abroad since the UK left the European Union.
The Prime Minister’s spokesperson at 10 Downing Street had recently said, “We have been in close contact with the Indian government about the Prime Minister’s upcoming visit in light of the Covid situation in India. As a result of these discussions, the Prime Minister has made the decision to reduce the length of the visit, due to take place at the end of this month, to a shorter programme in New Delhi.”
Earlier, the UK PM was scheduled to visit the country in January, as the Chief Guest for the Republic Day celebrations. However, it was cancelled due to the national lockdown in the UK.
“In light of the national lockdown announced last night, and the speed at which the new coronavirus variant is spreading, the Prime Minister said that it was important for him to remain in the UK so he can focus on the domestic response to the virus,” the statement had read from a UK spokeswoman.
Meanwhile, the second wave of COVID-19 in India has taken the country’s total caseload to over 1.50 crore, the figures from the Union Health Ministry showed on Monday (April 19, 2021) morning.