Indias power play on R-Day

New Delhi: As India celebrates its 66th Republic Day on Monday, it displays to the world not only the position at which the country has reached, but also the proximity at which the relations with the US have grown.

The US President Barack Obama becomes the first president from the country to be chief guest at the celebrations. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made an effort to see that his partnership with Obama is engraved. With an invitation over twitter to Obama — the White House claimed to have been taken aback by the gesture — the two have shown their promise to work in a digitised world.

The parade celebrates the adoption in 1950 of the Indian Constitution -– the day that India became a republic — three years after gaining independence from Britain.

The area has been declared a no-fly zone and snipers will be positioned on rooftops along the route, where 15,000 new CCTV cameras have been installed.

This is the first time that Obama has stayed outdoor for more than 45 minutes. This has only been possible because of the collaborative efforts between the Indian and US intelligence agencies.

The show-stopper is the Border Security Force on their brightly-decorated camels, and the parade also includes carnival-style floats and a human pyramid atop moving motorbikes.

Women’s power or Nari Shakti is the theme of the 66th Republic Day celebrations and women led many of the marching contingents, including all-woman contingents of the three services. 

Obama, who reached the national capital on Sunday with first lady Michelle, hailed a new era of friendship between the world’s biggest democracies. After an endless day of meets the two leaders showed to the millions of eyes watching that there friendship had made a remarkable turnaround.

Sunday’s talks brought about a major breakthrough on a long-stalled nuclear pact, and announcement of further cooperation on defence, trade and climate.

Obama said he was looking forward to the parade, which promises to be a colourful display of India’s military might and cultural diversity, showcasing everything from tanks and state-of-the-art weaponry, to camels and traditional dancers.

The main attraction of the annual extravaganza would be marching contingents of all-women officers of the three Services, with “Women’s Empowerment” being the theme of this year’s parade.


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