India celebrates Republic Day, Obama witnesses military might

Monday, January 26, 2015
President Pranab Mukherjee, US President Barack Obama and PM Narendra Modi at
the saluting dais, on the occasion of the 66th Republic Day Parade
[PHOTO: Special Arrangements] 
New Delhi: Monday marks India’s 66th Republic Day with US President Barack Obama as chief guest on the occasion. 

The main function held at Rajpath in the national capital where President Pranab Mukherjee unfurled the tricolour and took salute of the parade.

Cold, damp weather and a light drizzle failed to deter people reaching there. 

A crowd of about 100,000 people who had thronged to the parade route since early morning erupted in cheers as Obama, along with the first lady Michelle Obama, emerged from his armoured limousine and took his place on the rain-soaked parade route of New Delhi.

President Pranab Mukherjee, Obama and Modi arriving at the saluting dais
[PHOTO: Special Arrangements] 

US President presided over a grand display of dazzling parade, India's military might and cultural diversity on Monday. 

Obama was seated next to Modi witnessed marching bands, and elaborately dressed camels, becoming the first American leader to be honoured as chief guest at India’s annual Republic Day festivities.

US President Barack Obama and PM Modi witnessing the 66th Republic Day Parade
[PHOTO: Special Arrangements] 

The military display followed by a colourful cultural extravaganza of dance and gymnastics by children, and floats by government departments.

ICV BMPII (SARTHI) passes through the Rajpath during the Republic Day Parade
[PHOTO: Special Arrangements] 

First time, all-women contingents of the three Services marched across Rajpath during this year’s parade.

Rapidly Deployable Satellite Terminal (RADSAT) passes through the Rajpath during the parade
[PHOTO: Special Arrangements] 

A spectacular flypast by the IAF jets and aircraft was the centrepiece of attraction on the occasion. 
Republic Day celebrates the date on which the Indian constitution came into force in 1950 as the country’s governing document.

Pinaka 214 MM Multiple Barrel Rocket Launcher System passes through the Rajpath during the parade
[PHOTO: Special Arrangements] 

Every year, the government invites a chief guest or guest of honor, who is normally a head of state or government. 

Modi with the Obamas at Rajpath
[PHOTO: Special Arrangements] 
Republic Day celebrations begin Jan. 26 and end with the annual Beating Retreat ceremony Jan. 29, when a band plays the famous Christian hymn “Abide With Me.” Authored by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte, the tune is believed to have been a favorite of Mahatma Gandhi, the parent of India’s independence movement. 

Modi arriving at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate 
[PHOTO: Special Arrangements] 
President Barack Obama is the first US president to visit India twice during office, and is also the first US president to be the chief guest at the Republic Day.

Meanwhile, unprecedented security measures were put in place for this parade. 

A no-fly zone within a radius of 400 km of the venue of Rajpath has been imposed for the day.  
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