Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said he has invited South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as chief guest to India’s Republic Day celebration on January 26. Modi made the announcement after he met Ramaphosa on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires.

The prime minister said Ramaphosa’s visit to the country will further cement business and people-to-people ties between the two nations. “Glad to have met President Cyril Ramaphosa,” Modi tweeted. “At a time when India is marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, it is our honour to welcome President Ramaphosa as the Chief Guest for the 2019 Republic Day celebrations. Bapu’s close link with South Africa is well known.”

The announcement follows United States President Donald Trump’s decision to turn down India’s invitation to be the chief guest at the parade on January 26 citing a “crowded calendar”.