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Sarkozy calls for high-tech military spending

President Nicolas Sarkozy opened the traditional Bastille Day military parade to Indian and German troops on Tuesday, as France looks to expand its global military influence.

world Updated: Jul 14, 2009 21:10 IST

President Nicolas Sarkozy opened the traditional Bastille Day military parade to Indian and German troops on Tuesday, as France looks to expand its global military influence.

French forces marched with precision down the Champs Elysees along with Indian troops in colorful uniforms and German soldiers in sober dress.

Attack jets in tight formation roared across blue skies overhead to the delight of thousands of cheering onlookers.

The mood in the city was unaffected by violent clashes overnight in a Paris suburb.

The annual holiday parade marks the July 14, 1789, storming of the Bastille prison in eastern Paris that helped spark the French Revolution.

French companies have been seeking new markets for their military and nuclear technology, and Sarkozy pledged on Tuesday that despite the economic crisis he would not seek to cut French military spending on high-tech weapons or intelligence gathering.

The French military is in the midst of restructuring that has forced the closing of some military bases in France and Africa as the country expands in the Persian Gulf.

France hopes its presence there will bolster international efforts to fight piracy and guard shipping lanes while giving France more leverage with Iran and the Gulf states.