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Military parade celebrates Republic Day in India

By Sheikh Saaliq, Associated Press

Thousands of Indians converged on a ceremonial boulevard in the capital New Delhi on Sunday amid tight security to celebrate Republic Day, which marks the 1950 anniversary of the country’s democratic constitution.

During the celebrations, schoolchildren, folk dancers and police and military battalions marched on a parade route, followed by a military hardware display.

Beyond the show of military power, the parade also included ornate floats highlighting India’s cultural diversity as men, women and children in colourful dresses performed traditional dances, drawing applause from spectators.

The 90-minute event, broadcast live, was watched by millions of Indians on their television sets across the country.

An Indian air force helicopter sprays flower petals as Sashastra Seema Bal paramilitary soldiers participate in the parade (Anupam Nath/AP/PA)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was the chief guest for this year’s celebrations.

He was accorded the ceremonial Guard of Honour by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the presidential palace.

Mr Bolsonaro joined the two Indian leaders as the military parade marched through a central avenue near the presidential palace.

At the parade, Mr Bolsonaro watched keenly as mechanised columns of Indian tanks, rocket launchers, locally-made nuclear-capable missile systems and other hardware rolled down the parade route and air force jets sped by overhead.

Apart from attending the Republic Day celebrations, Mr Bolsonaro’s visit was also aimed at strengthening trade and investment ties across a range of fields between the two countries.

On Saturday, Mr Modi and Mr Bolsonaro reached an agreement to promote investment in each other’s country.