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India on Tuesday thanked British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his wishes on its 72nd Republic Day. "We thank Prime Minister of United Kingdom @BorisJohnson for his warm wishes on the occasion of India's 72nd RepublicDay," Anurag Srivastava, ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson wrote on Twitter.

Extending greetings on the occasion of Republic Day, Johnson, in a video message, wished India "Happy Republic Day" and reiterated his plan to visit the country later this year.

"Let me wish everyone in India, as well as those celebrating here in Britain, a very Happy Republic Day," he said.

"Today, as India celebrates Republic Day and the birth of Constitution that established your nation as the biggest sovereign democracy in the world. I want to offer my sincere greetings, to a country that is very close to my heart," he further said.

"I look forward to visiting India later this year, strengthening our friendship, and striving for the quantum leap in our relationship that Prime Minister Modi and I have both pledged to achieve," he added.

British prime minister was earlier invited as a chief guest to attend the Republic Day celebrations. He cancelled his visit due to the spread of mutant COVID-19 virus in the United Kingdom.

Speaking about the cancellation of his visit to India, he said, ""I was hugely looking forward to joining you for this important occasion, the kind invitation of my dear friend Prime Minister Modi. Alas, our common struggle against COVID-19, kept me in London."

"All over the world, this crisis is compelling people to stay apart including family and friends in Britain and India, who form what PM Modi says, "living bridge between us," added Johnson.

He also lauded the Indian effort in producing and distributing COVID-19 vaccines. "As I speak our two countries are working side-by-side to develop, produce, and distribute the vaccines that will help to free humanity the pandemic. And thanks to the combined efforts of Britain and India and many other nations, we are on the road to success against COVID-19."

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