US President-elect Joe Biden speaks after a meeting with governors in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 19, 2020. - Biden said today he would not order a nationwide shutdown to fight the Covid-19 pandemic despite a surge in cases. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)

Former Indian prime minister has not been invited to Biden’s inauguration

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Multiple Facebook and Twitter posts claim that former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been invited to be “chief guest” at US President-elect Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony. The claim is false; Singh’s office denied receiving any such invitation from the US authorities; inauguration ceremonies of US presidents and vice presidents usually have US officials and local dignitaries.

The false claim was posted on Facebook here on November 8, 2020.

Screenshot of misleading Facebook post

The Hindi text translates to English as: “Breaking: India's Dr. Manmohan Singh-ji will be the chief guest at the new US President Biden's oath-taking ceremony.

Manmohan Singh is a former Indian prime minister and opposition Indian National Congress (INC) party politician.

The same message was also shared here, here, here and here on Facebook, and here, here, here and here on Twitter.

The claim, however, is false.

Manmohan Singh’s office denied receiving any such communication from US authorities.

“This is false information. We have not received any such invitation,” a representative told an AFP journalist via phone on November 13, 2020.

The swearing-in ceremonies of the US president-elect and vice president-elect are planned by a Joint Congressional Committee, and the ceremonies usually only have guests, and not a “chief guest”.

According to this report by the New York Times on November 9, the committee is planning to hold an outdoor inauguration ceremony for the 46th US president on January 20, 2021, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report details some expected guests at the ceremony, but there is no mention of any foreign guests, only US officials.