Namaste Johnson! With A New Covid-19 Strain Hitting The UK, Will Boris Johnson’s Visit Be A Repeat Of Namaste Trump?

British PM Boris Johnson has accepted the invitation to be the Guest of Honor during India’s Republic Day, while, the UK has reported a new strain of COVID-19 virus that is “out of control,”. Netizens have argued if this was the best time for Boris Johnson to visit. 

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Along with many other Latin, European and Asian nations, India has moved to suspend all flights from the UK until December 31. “Considering the prevailing situation in UK. Govt. of India has decided that all flights originating from the UK to India to be suspended till 31st December 2020,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a tweet.

With UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson set to visit India in January as the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations, this will be his first bilateral visit to India since he took office.

Accepting the invitation, Johnson had said: “As a key player in the Indo-Pacific region, India is an increasingly indispensable partner for the United Kingdom as we work to boost jobs and growth, confront shared threats to our security and protect our planet”.

Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar and his British counterpart Dominic Raab, who met in New Delhi last week, reportedly discussed a proposed free trade agreement at length, which is likely to be signed during Johnson’s visit to India on Republic Day in January 2021.

The two sides also discussed a 10-year roadmap focusing on cooperation in connecting people, trade, defense and security, climate change, and health.

Going back to US President Donald Trump’s visit in February in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. A grand roadshow was organized with Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcoming Trump. The show was attended by thousands of people.

Following the event, the opposition alleged that ‘Namaste Trump’ led to 800 COVID-19 deaths in the state. “Though the World Health Organisation had issued a warning about coronavirus in January itself, the state’s BJP government went ahead in organizing the Namaste Trump event which has resulted in the death of over 800 persons due to the pandemic,” State Congress president Amit Chavda claimed. The BJP government rejected the claims “baseless.”

In September, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan revealed that no COVID-19 testing was done not done for the US President and his family. Trump was accompanied by the First Lady Melania, daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner along with top brass from his administration. 

At the time of President Trump’s visit, that is February 24-25, there was no requirement of mandatory COVID-19 test for travelers coming from foreign countries,” Muraleedharan said in a written reply to a query in Rajya Sabha. “The requirement of mandatory universal screening of all international passengers arriving in 21 airports in India for COVID-19 was implemented by the government of India with effect from March 4.”

With a new strain of the virus discovered in the UK, will Johnson’s visit be a success? It is important to note that India hasn’t got immunization shots and is expected to receive it in January. This makes the country even more susceptible to the new infection. 

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