French President Francois Hollande is the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade Tuesday, a spectacular showcase of the nation’s military power and cultural diversity to celebrate the adoption of the constitution in 1950.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande are witnessing the Republic Day parade at Rajpath alongwith thousands of people.
For the first time in the history of the Republic Day parade, a group of foreign soldiers marched down Rajpath shoulder to shoulder with the Indian troops: The French contingent - comprising 56 personnel of 35th Infantry Regiment of 7th Armoured Brigade.
After a gap of 26 years the Indian army’s unsung -- or unbarked -- heroes are returning to the parade. A dog squad drawn from the Army’s Remount Veterinary Corps marched past wearing striped coats in their unit’s colours of maroon and gold. The Labradors and German Shepherds usually work in the restive northern region of Kashmir detecting explosives and landmines or tracking in avalanches. Reportedly just 36 dogs out of 1,200 were chosen for the big day and underwent weeks of training.
There was a small outcry after various newspapers suggested the camel contingent, usually a mainstay of the parade, may be dropped this year -- but officials later reassured the public that the dromedaries would perform as normal.
The camels, used to patrol the Thar Desert near the border with Pakistan, make the journey from Rajasthan every year to participate in the parade, accompanied by moustachioed border guards. They will also be seen by millions online in India in the form of a special Google Doodle showing brightly decked-out camels carrying bandsmen to mark the day.