Last time the ceremonial parade of the Republic day at Raj Path was conducted without a chief guest sitting on the dais with the President of India was in 1966 when India was passing through a sad moment in its history.
Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shashtri had died in Tashkant, USSR, on January 11 and the new government of Indira Gandhi was sworn in on January 24. There was apparently no time for the new government to send formal invitations to a head of State or the head of government for the grand occasion.
Today, it will be for the fourth time that the Parade will not have a chief guest as the UK Prime Minister Borris Johnson had to cancel his visit in view of the raging COVID pandemic in his country.
The first Republic day celebration in 1950 was attended by the then President of Indonesia Sukarno.
In fact the ceremonial parade at the Raj path started in 1954 and the first chief guest was the King of Bhutan Jigme Dorji Wangchuk.
For some unknown reasons, the government didn’t invite anyone for the Republic days in 1952 and 1953.