India is celebrating its 67th Republic Day on Tuesday showing off its latest weapons at a military parade in the capital, Delhi.
At Rajpath (King’s Avenue) thousands of people lined up to watch the colourful parade that also showcased the nation’s rich cultural heritage.
Security has been tightened in New Delhi and in other parts of the country including the north-east where several extremist groups have called for a boycott of the celebrations.
Anti-aircraft guns and the National Security Guard’s sharpshooters were deployed at various places at the parade venue in New Delhi.
Around 50,000 security personnel, including 15,000 from the paramilitary, have been deployed across the city as part of massive security arrangements.
The Indian President and the Prime Minister attended the show with the chief guest French President Francois Hollande.
President Pranab Mukherjee unfurled the Indian flag and took the salute of marching contingents on Tuesday morning.
A 76-member French Army contingent led by a French military band comprising 48 musicians, marched at Rajpath and presented a ceremonial salute to the President of India.
In 2009, an Indian Army regiment, the Maratha Light Infantry marched down Champs Elysee in Paris on Bastille Day in the presence of former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then French President Nicholas Sarkozy.
At Tuesday’s parade, the Indian army displayed its tanks and missile launchers, including the indigenously designed and developed weapons system Akash.
Almost ninety per cent of India’s military arsenal, however, is Russian equipment. In the past couple of years, the US is playing catch up trying to displace Russia from the top spot.
The Indian Army’s Russian-made tanks—the latest laser-guided missile capability T-90 “Bheeshma” tank were also on display.
New Delhi has also recently increased foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence to 49 per cent. India accounted for nearly 10 per cent of the $63 billion international defense market in 2013.
On Tuesday, smaller parades have also been held in state capitals across India.
Internet search giant Google marked the day with a doodle depicting a camel contingent of the Indian Border Security Forces.
In past years at the parade in New Delhi, “tableaux”, or floats, from different states and ministries have shown off everything from India’s agriculture to its research in the Antarctic.
India adopted its democratic constitution on January 26, 1950.
India won independence from British rule on August 15, 1947, but it was not until January 26, 1950, that the nation declared itself a sovereign republic state with the adoption of its constitution.
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