Amid tight security, India marked its 67th Republic Day on Tuesday, with President Pranab Mukherjee hoisting the national Tricolour at Rajpath in the presence of his French counterpart Francois Hollande. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also present on the occasion.
The R-Day is celebrated in India on January 26 every year. The day marks the sovereignty of the country, as the Constitution of India was adopted on this day in 1950. The signature celebration of the event is the R-Day Parade, which is held at the historic Rajpath in New Delhi. This year, the French president attended the event as a Guest of Honour.
As India showcased its military prowess and achievements in different fields, state-of-the-art defence, diverse cultural and social traditions and the government’s emphasis on self-reliance, a 123-member French Army contingent marched on Rajpath for the first time in the history of India’s R-Day parades and presented a ceremonial salute to President Mukherjee. President Hollande, seated next to Prime Minister Modi, clapped when the French Army contingent, led by Lieutenant Colonel Paul Bury of the 35th Infantry Regiment, presented the ceremonial salute to the Indian president. An Indian Army dog squad, drawn from the Remount Veterinary Corps along with their handlers, also marched down the Rajpath after 26 years hiatus.
The Army’s missile firing capability T-90 Bhishma tank, Infantry Combat Vehicle BMP II (Sarath), Mobile Autonomous Launcher of the BrahMos Missile System, Akash weapon system, Smerch Launcher Vehicles and Integrated Communication Electronic Warfare System were showcased during the parade.
After experiencing a slice of Indian culture on Rajpath in the morning, the French president departed from India in the evening. Before his departure, President Hollande held talks with his Indian counterpart at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace). He once again assured the top Indian leadership that France would take every necessary step to bolster ties with India. The visiting head of the state also said that 30 agreements, signed between the two countries in the last three days, made his trip a “successful” one.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Modi bid a warm farewell to President Hollande, expressing confidence that their discussions would further strengthen the bilateral ties. “Thank you President @fhollande for visiting India & gracing our R-Day celebrations. India’s friendship with France is special… Am sure the discussions during President @fhollande’s visit will further deepen our relations,” tweeted the PM.