Francois Hollande to be Chief Guest at 2016 Republic Day celebrations
French President Francois Hollande will be the Chief Guest at the 67th Republic Day parade of January 26, 2016.
The announcement might have been finalised during the talks between French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and his counterpart Sushma Swaraj and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi.
The visit of Mr. Hollande to New Delhi for the mega event will be symbolic. It would also send a strong message of a worldwide solidarity among the democratic countries against terrorism of the Islamic State (IS) which had staged barbaric attacks on November 13, 2015 in Paris.
Mr. Francois Hollande would be the 5th highest dignitary from France to be Chief Guest of Indian Republic Day parade after Prime Minister Jacques Chirac (1976), President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (1980), President Jacques Chirac (1998) and President Nicolas Sarkozy (2008).
With this invitation, France now holds distinction of being the guest of honour for the maximum five times of Indian Republic Day parade followed by Bhutan (four times); Mauritius and USSR/Russia (three times each).
Earlier Chief guests of Republic Day parades: 2015- Barack Obama (US President), 2014- Shinzo Abe (Japanese Prime Minister), 2013- Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (King of Bhutan), 2012- Yingluck Shinawatra (Then Prime Minister of Thailand), 2011- Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono(Then President of Indonesia).