India Celebrates 67th Republic Day
India's 67th Republic Day was celebrated across cities and towns on Tuesday, with the country's military might on display in the capital where French troops made history by joining the impressive parade.
French President Francois Hollande, the chief guest, watched admiringly the 90-minute splendour where President Pranab Mukherjee took salute from the military. It ended with colourful tableaux marking India's cultural diversity, a daredevil motorcycle show and a grand flypast by air force fighters.
Across the country, governors and chief ministers unfurled the national flag and took salute from military and police units. The celebrations went off peacefully everywhere.
A contingent from the French 35th Infantry Regiment - elements of which served in India in 1781-84 - got the honour of leading the marching contingents and it performed with panache, preceded by a pipes and drums band. It is the first time a foreign army unit took part in the event.
The French apart, there was much that was different this time. The armoured element was bare-boned - just the T-90 Bhishma main battle tank and the BMP infantry combat vehicle - the marching contingents were fewer, as were the massed bands.
In another break with tradition, the young recipients of the National Awards for Bravery came up towards the end.