India's 67th Republic Day parade: Daredevils, fire breathers and show of military strength

Published January 27, 2016
(L-R) India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, French President Francois Hollande and his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee wave as they attend the 'At Home' reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace after the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
(L-R) India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, French President Francois Hollande and his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee wave as they attend the 'At Home' reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace after the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
An Indian soldier salutes as he rides a Smerch rocket launcher during India's Republic Day parade. ─ AFP
An Indian soldier salutes as he rides a Smerch rocket launcher during India's Republic Day parade. ─ AFP
A member of the band of the Border Security Force contingent plays a saxophone on his camel during the parade. ─ AFP
A member of the band of the Border Security Force contingent plays a saxophone on his camel during the parade. ─ AFP
India's Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers march during India's Republic Day parade in Srinagar. ─ Reuters
India's Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers march during India's Republic Day parade in Srinagar. ─ Reuters
India's Border Security Force (BSF) "Daredevils" motorcycle riders take part in the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
India's Border Security Force (BSF) "Daredevils" motorcycle riders take part in the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
An Indian artist performs a fire act during Republic Day celebrations. ─ AP
An Indian artist performs a fire act during Republic Day celebrations. ─ AP
An Indian dancer performs on a float during India's Republic Day parade. ─ AFP
An Indian dancer performs on a float during India's Republic Day parade. ─ AFP
Indian Army's T-90 Bhishma tanks (front) are displayed during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Indian Army's T-90 Bhishma tanks (front) are displayed during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Members of the Rajput Regiment participate in India's Republic Day parade. ─ AFP
Members of the Rajput Regiment participate in India's Republic Day parade. ─ AFP
An Indian soldier salutes as he rides an Akash weapon system of air defence during India's Republic Day parade. ─ AFP
An Indian soldier salutes as he rides an Akash weapon system of air defence during India's Republic Day parade. ─ AFP
An India-Held Kashmir state policeman jumps through a fire wheel as he performs a motorcycle stunt. ─ AP
An India-Held Kashmir state policeman jumps through a fire wheel as he performs a motorcycle stunt. ─ AP
Schoolchildren wearing traditional attire cheer after performing at a cultural program during the Republic Day celebrations in Chandigarh, India. ─ Reuters
Schoolchildren wearing traditional attire cheer after performing at a cultural program during the Republic Day celebrations in Chandigarh, India. ─ Reuters
Members of the Indian military band take part in the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Members of the Indian military band take part in the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Women wearing traditional clothes from the state of Rajasthan ride a float during India's Republic Day parade. ─ AFP
Women wearing traditional clothes from the state of Rajasthan ride a float during India's Republic Day parade. ─ AFP
Indian school children perform a dance to show India's cultural heritage during the parade. ─ AP
Indian school children perform a dance to show India's cultural heritage during the parade. ─ AP
A member of National Service Scheme shouts commands as he takes part in the Republic Day parade in Agartala, India. ─ Reuters
A member of National Service Scheme shouts commands as he takes part in the Republic Day parade in Agartala, India. ─ Reuters
A contingent of camel mounted soldiers of Indian Border Security Force (BSF), march down Rajpath during the Republic Day parade. ─ AP
A contingent of camel mounted soldiers of Indian Border Security Force (BSF), march down Rajpath during the Republic Day parade. ─ AP
Service dogs assigned to the Remount Veterinary Corps Dog Squad march with their handlers during India's Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Service dogs assigned to the Remount Veterinary Corps Dog Squad march with their handlers during India's Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
An Indian policeman performs a stunt on his motorcycle during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
An Indian policeman performs a stunt on his motorcycle during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Indian security forces march during the Republic Day parade. ─ AP
Indian security forces march during the Republic Day parade. ─ AP
Motorcycle display team of Indian army's 'Corps of Signals'. ─ AP
Motorcycle display team of Indian army's 'Corps of Signals'. ─ AP
An Indian woman stands on a float promoting ancient sculptures in the eastern India state of Tripura. ─ AFP
An Indian woman stands on a float promoting ancient sculptures in the eastern India state of Tripura. ─ AFP
Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Members of the Indian Navy ride a float during India's Republic Day parade. ─ AFP
Members of the Indian Navy ride a float during India's Republic Day parade. ─ AFP
Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
A tableau from the eastern state of West Bengal is displayed during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
A tableau from the eastern state of West Bengal is displayed during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Women members of India's National Cadet Corps (NCC) march during the Republic Day parade. ─ AP
Women members of India's National Cadet Corps (NCC) march during the Republic Day parade. ─ AP
Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
French soldiers march during India's Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
French soldiers march during India's Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
Indians watch from behind police barricades as a contingent of Indian  paramilitary forces marches past. ─ AP
Indians watch from behind police barricades as a contingent of Indian paramilitary forces marches past. ─ AP
Indian security forces march during the parade. ─ AP
Indian security forces march during the parade. ─ AP
Motorcycle display team of Indian army's 'Corps of Signals',  popularly known as 'Dare Devils', make formations on motorcycles as they roll down Rajpath during the parade. ─ AP
Motorcycle display team of Indian army's 'Corps of Signals', popularly known as 'Dare Devils', make formations on motorcycles as they roll down Rajpath during the parade. ─ AP
Indian security forces march during the parade. ─ AP
Indian security forces march during the parade. ─ AP
French President Francois Hollande (L) and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee (R) sip refreshments at a reception hosted by the Indian President to mark India's Republic Day. ─ AP
French President Francois Hollande (L) and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee (R) sip refreshments at a reception hosted by the Indian President to mark India's Republic Day. ─ AP
French President Francois Hollande arrives to attend the 'At Home' reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace after India's Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters
French President Francois Hollande arrives to attend the 'At Home' reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace after India's Republic Day parade. ─ Reuters

NEW DELHI: Thousands gathered in New Delhi amid tight security on Tuesday for India’s annual Republic Day parade, a pomp-filled spectacle of military might featuring camels and daredevil stunt riders, with French President Francois Hollande attending it as the chief guest.

A contingent of French infantry in India for joint military exercises led the march down the capital’s central Rajpath avenue, the first time foreign troops have taken part in the parade.

The mood on Tuesday was celebratory, with Indian Prime Minister Modi — sporting a gold turban that rivalled the spectacular military headgear on display — and Mr Hollande chatting as they sat side by side in a bulletproof glass enclosure.

Modi invited Hollande to the parade in a show of solidarity with France after the Nov 13 Paris attacks. Both countries this week signed an accord for the sale of 36 French Rafale fighter jets to India.

An estimated 10,000 people braved thick smog and poor air quality levels to watch the display ─ the highlight of annual celebrations of the birth of modern India.

The two-hour showcase of military might and cultural diversity included everything from tanks and state-of-the-art weaponry to camels and traditional dancers.

The mounted camels of the Border Security Force — an annual highlight — put in an early showing, decorated in brightly coloured caparisons.

Traditional dancers representing some of India’s diverse regional cultures performed on colourfully decorated floats showcasing selected states.

A dog squad drawn from the Army’s Remount Veterinary Corps returned to the parade after a gap of 26 years to perform a march past wearing striped coats in their unit’s colours.

They were followed by motorbike stunt riders forming a human pyramid, another annual tradition, before the grand finale of the event, a fly-past by Indian fighter jets.

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