India puts military and diversity on display for Republic Day parade

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Several thousand people watched the parade from the seats around Kartavya Path – or the path of duty – braving the cold on a foggy morning in New Delhi, while millions more watched on television. Known as Rajpath since independence, and as King’s Way during British colonial rule, the ceremonial central boulevard was renamed in September last year.

Accompanied by marching bands, troops from the country’s military, border and police forces walked in perfect synchronization to the tag where President Droupadi Murmu took the salute.

The Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was the main guest for the event and 144 soldiers from the armed forces of the Arab nation also participated.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the chief of the defense staff and the three service chiefs were also present at the parade, which included more women in the military contingents.

The rich and diverse heritage of the country was showcased in a vibrant display by different states and ministries, highlighting the central theme of ‘nari shakti’ or the power of women.

The army tables included only locally made weapons, reflecting India’s drive to become more self-reliant in the defense sector.

The event culminated in a flypast by 45 Indian Air Force aircraft, with French-made Rafales, Russian-made Su-30s and Indian-made Tejas fighter jets putting on a show impressive aeronautics.

But foggy weather spoiled the show, as spectators struggled to see the plane as it roared overhead.

(Reporting by Tanvi Mehta; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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