NEW DELHI: India has expedited diplomatic efforts to get newly-elected UK Prime Minister Liz Truss as chief guest at the Republic Day parade next year, which will be the first after “Rajpath”—the stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate—was redeveloped and renamed as “Kartavya Path”. The proposal to invite the UK Prime Minister was there in the pipeline for a long time, but efforts have been stepped up through diplomatic channels to ensure that the British leader gives her consent to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in Delhi on 26 January next year, sources told The Sunday Guardian. The Indian High Commission in London has reached out to the diplomatic hierarchy in UK in this regard, sources said.

Sources say that the presence of the British Premier will be a significant message during the R-Day parade next year which will be the first on the stretch under the changed name of Kartavya Path (path of duty) from Rajpath or “Kingsway”. It was called Kingsway during the British era. While unveiling the Central Vista on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the renaming of Rajpath or Kingsway as Kartavya Path, as freedom from yet another slavery. The message from PM Modi was clear that Rajpath was the symbol of British rule and deleting this name will help citizens erase dark memories of the slavery unleashed by the British. “From right to rule to duty to serve” was the message that renaming of Rajpath as Kartavya Path sends out. “Rajpath has been reminding Indians of the British rule that reduced our countrymen to slaves,” said an official. This historic stretch of road from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate has been witness to the dawn of Independence and, has also been playing host to annual Republic Day celebrations for over seven decades. It witnessed the colonial rule. “With the British PM as chief guest, the message will be quite significant during the Republic Day grand event at Kartavya Path next year, if she accepts the proposal,” said an official.

What will add more charm to the occasion is that PM Modi has invited thousands of construction workers behind the redevelopment of the Central Vista as his special invitees in a designated gallery at the grand gala that would be unveiled at the Kartavya Path on R-Day. While inaugurating the Kartavya Path, P:M Modi announced that he would invite the Shramjeevis involved with the project and their family members to the Republic Day function.

PM Modi said, “Today a new history has been created in the form of a path of duty. I congratulate all the citizens for their freedom from yet another identity of slavery.” “Today the spirit of Rajpath has been changed. Rajpath was the symbol of British rule. Now it is Kartavya Path. It will remind every person and officer to work for the growth of our country,” he said.

Emphasising that the Kartavya Path (path of duty) is not just a path of bricks and stones, PM Modi said when people come here, when they see that statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and the National War Memorial, it will serve them as a great inspiration. It will still be a sense of duty.

For Republic Day celebrations, foldable sitting arrangements will replace the temporary structures that are installed and removed every year.