Motorbike stunt riders and herds of camels wowed the crowds gathered in New Delhi Thursday to celebrate Republic Day, an annual showcase of India's military hardware and cultural diversity.
The day marks the adoption of the country's constitution on January 26, 1950 following independence from Britain in 1947.
After the United States (US) and French presidents attended the last two events, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was this year's chief guest as everyone from bagpipe-playing troops to schoolchildren paraded along the landmark Rajpath boulevard.
Nahyan is the second Arab leader to attend the function after Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in 2006, as India eyes financial investments and energy security from the region.
The nearly 100-minute parade displayed India's latest weaponry, including missiles and Indian-manufactured radar systems, along with elaborate floats representing the country's different states and union territories.
A military contingent from the UAE led the march down Janpath and the parade concluded with a fly-past by Indian fighter jets.
India's Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers personnel exchanged sweets on occasion of India's Republic Day at the Wagah-Attari border gate, Indian media reported.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wore a pink turban and was seen chatting with guests inside a bullet-proof enclosure.
More than 50,000 security personnel were deployed in the Indian capital to prevent any possible attack.
Suspected separatist militants triggered at least eight bombs in the remote northeastern Assam and Manipur states, but without causing any major damage or casualties.
Meanwhile, the day was marked with a strike in India-held Kashmir, where people observed a 'Black Day' in protest against Indian rule, APP reported.
In his televised Republic Day speech on Wednesday night, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee said India's strength lay in its religious and cultural diversity.
Critics say India is witnessing an increasingly strident brand of Hindu nationalism since Modi came to power in 2014.
"Our tradition has always celebrated the argumentative Indian not the intolerant Indian," said Mukherjee.