President of the Republic of Suriname, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, will be the chief guest for India’s Republic Day parade on January 26th. The arrangement was made after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled his visit to India due to the lockdown announced in the UK because of the coronavirus. Santokhi is said to be of Indian origin. He was a Chief Guest at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention held by the Ministry of External Affairs a few days ago.
Santokhi was sworn in as the President of Suriname in July 2020 after his party, the Progressive Reform Party won 20 seats out of 51 seats. It is known as VHP in Dutch and it’s expansion is Vooruitstrevende Hervormingspartij and largely represents the Indian community and was originally called the United Hindustani Party. Suriname is a former Dutch colony where people of Indian origin comprise the largest ethnic group and make up 27.4 per cent of the population of 5,87,000. The win of Santokhi brought an end to the dictatorial rule by Desi Bouterse.