India’s military prowess and multi-hued images of the country’s rich cultural diversity and achievements in various fields were on display at the majestic Rajpath today during 67th Republic Day parade which was graced by French President Francois Hollande as the chief guest.
Thousands of people on both sides of the imposing Rajpath, India’s ceremonial boulevard facing the seat of power Raisina Hills, braved the winter chill and cheered loudly as the marching contingents and tableux went past them.
The national capital, particularly the Central and New Delhi areas, were brought under unprecedented security blanket as thousands of personnel kept a hawk-eye vigil to thwart any untoward incident. There were intelligence inputs that terror groups may target some important installations in the city.
Hollande was seated between President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi who wore a marigold coloured ‘safa'(turban). Modi was seen explaining things to Hollande on several occasions during the one-and-a-half-hour-long event.
This year the duration of the parade has been curtailed from more than two hours to 90 minutes.
A French military contingent also marched down the Rajpath, a first by any foreign armed force. In 2009, an Indian contingent had also participated in France’s annual Bastille Day parade.