Indian prime minister Narendra Modi set to miss Queen’s funeral

India’s president Droupadi Murmu will travel to London this weekend to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, the government in Delhi has confirmed.

The Independent understands that prime minister Narendra Modi will therefore not attend the state funeral on Monday 19 September, as the two leaders do not typically leave the country on foreign visits at the same time.

The president will instead offer condolences at the funeral on behalf of the government of India, a statement from the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

“In the 70 years of reign of HM Queen Elizabeth II, India-UK ties have evolved, flourished and strengthened immensely,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“She played an important role in the welfare of millions of people around the world as Head of the Commonwealth.”

India, a former British colony for 200 years, announced a day of state mourning on 11 September as “a mark of respect” for the Queen. On Sunday, the country observed the day with no official entertainment and national flags were flown at half-mast throughout the country, a statement from the home ministry read.

Ms Murmu is the newly elected 15th president of India, sworn in in late July after she was backed by MPs in a historic moment that saw a politician from an indigenous community taking the country’s highest elective office for the first time.

The Indian president will attend the state funeral along with US president Joe Biden and a host of prime ministers of Commonwealth nations – such as Canada’s Justin Trudeau, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern and Australia’s Anthony Albanese.

Other leaders who will attend the funeral include French president Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Italian president Sergio Mattarella, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan along with Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the EU, is also expected to be in attendance.

It will be one of the largest diplomatic gatherings in decades, with nearly 500 foreign dignitaries expected to join the bereaved royal family in London.

But the British government has not sent invitations for the Queen’s state funeral to Russia, Belarus or Myanmar, Whitehall sources have said.

Iran, meanwhile, has received an invite from the foreign office but is expected to “only be represented at an ambassadorial level”.

Russia was apparently shunned in accordance with the UK government’s foreign policy, denouncing Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Moscow, and its closest ally Belarus was left out for supporting the country in its ambitions.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is not expected to attend amid the Russian invasion of his country.

The procession of the Queen’s coffin, which began its journey from Balmoral at the weekend, will culminate with a state funeral on Monday to pay honour to Britain’s longest serving monarch’s lifetime of service. King Charles III approved making the day a national holiday in Britain as one of his first acts as the new monarch.

The Queen will be laid to rest within St George’s Chapel, in the grounds of Windsor Castle. She will be laid alongside her “strength and stay” of 73 years, Prince Philip, whose coffin will move from the Royal Vault to the memorial chapel to join the Queen’s.

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