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Camels and stuntmen wow crowds at India's 68th Republic Day parade

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was this year's chief guest.
Updated Jan 26, 2017 03:34pm

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.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2L) arrives ahead of the 68th Republic Day Parade in New Delhi.— AFP
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2L) arrives ahead of the 68th Republic Day Parade in New Delhi.— AFP

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (C) arrives for India's 68th Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.— AFP
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (C) arrives for India's 68th Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.— AFP

A contingent from the United Arab Emirates marches past in India's Republic Day Parade at Rajpath in New Delhi.— AFP
A contingent from the United Arab Emirates marches past in India's Republic Day Parade at Rajpath in New Delhi.— AFP

An Indian National Security Guard (NSG) Commandos contingent march during the parade in New Delhi.— AFP
An Indian National Security Guard (NSG) Commandos contingent march during the parade in New Delhi.— AFP

Indian students and members of Global Peace Initiative (GPI) participate in Republic Day celebrations in Hyderabad, India.— AP
Indian students and members of Global Peace Initiative (GPI) participate in Republic Day celebrations in Hyderabad, India.— AP

A contingent from UAE marches during Republic Day parade in New Delhi.— AP
A contingent from UAE marches during Republic Day parade in New Delhi.— AP

Indian school children perform during the 68th Republic Day parade in New Delhi.— AFP
Indian school children perform during the 68th Republic Day parade in New Delhi.— AFP

Camel regiment of Indian Border security Force participate in Republic Day parade in New Delhi.— AP
Camel regiment of Indian Border security Force participate in Republic Day parade in New Delhi.— AP

Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.— Reuters
Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.— Reuters

Indian artists from Punjab perform during the 68th Republic Day parade in New Delhi. — AFP
Indian artists from Punjab perform during the 68th Republic Day parade in New Delhi. — AFP

Indian army tanks roll down Rajpath, the ceremonial boulevard, during Republic Day parade in New Delhi.— AP
Indian army tanks roll down Rajpath, the ceremonial boulevard, during Republic Day parade in New Delhi.— AP

An Indian artist performs as he takes part in the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.— Reuters
An Indian artist performs as he takes part in the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.— Reuters

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) "Daredevils" motorcycle riders take part in the Republic Day parade.— Reuters
Indian Border Security Force (BSF) "Daredevils" motorcycle riders take part in the Republic Day parade.— Reuters

Indian Air Force's fighter planes fly past during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.— Reuters
Indian Air Force's fighter planes fly past during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.— Reuters

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee wave to the crowd as they leave after witnessing the Republic Day parade along with Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in white robe, in New Delhi.— AP
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee wave to the crowd as they leave after witnessing the Republic Day parade along with Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in white robe, in New Delhi.— AP

An Indian policeman blows warm air onto his hand as he takes part in a parade to celebrate India's Republic Day on a cold winter day in Srinagar, India-held Kashmir.— Reuters
An Indian policeman blows warm air onto his hand as he takes part in a parade to celebrate India's Republic Day on a cold winter day in Srinagar, India-held Kashmir.— Reuters

Indian police personnel and police dogs march in a parade to mark Republic Day in Chennai.— AFP
Indian police personnel and police dogs march in a parade to mark Republic Day in Chennai.— AFP

Indian artists from the state of Tamilnadu surround their state float as they take part in the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi.— AFP
Indian artists from the state of Tamilnadu surround their state float as they take part in the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi.— AFP

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) meet officials from the UAE during the 68th Republic Day celebrations.— AFP
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) meet officials from the UAE during the 68th Republic Day celebrations.— AFP

Indian folk artists perform during a parade to mark Republic Day in Chennai.— AFP
Indian folk artists perform during a parade to mark Republic Day in Chennai.— AFP

Indian school children take part in a cultural performance during an event to mark Republic Day at the Manek Shaw Parade Grounds in Bangalore.— AFP
Indian school children take part in a cultural performance during an event to mark Republic Day at the Manek Shaw Parade Grounds in Bangalore.— AFP

Indian National Service Scheme (NSS) cadets take part in a Republic Day parade in Bangalore.— AFP
Indian National Service Scheme (NSS) cadets take part in a Republic Day parade in Bangalore.— AFP

School children dressed in traditional attire eat breakfast before participating in a Republic day parade in Bangalore.— AP
School children dressed in traditional attire eat breakfast before participating in a Republic day parade in Bangalore.— AP

Indian school students displays 'kalaripayittu', an ancient martial art, during a parade to mark Republic Day in Chennai.— AFP
Indian school students displays 'kalaripayittu', an ancient martial art, during a parade to mark Republic Day in Chennai.— AFP

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