The 75th Republic Day celebrations on Friday add a global dimension with the unique participation of the French Foreign Legion. The parade showcased a distinctive blend of international camaraderie and military prowess as the strong contingent from the French Foreign Legion, comprising 120 members, including a 30-member music band and 90-member marching contingent of the second foreign infantry regiment from the south of France, and three aircraft (two Rafales and a tanker aircraft), took centre stage.
As the Armed Forces conducted dress rehearsals for the Republic Day parade at Kartvya Path in the capital, the inclusion of the French Foreign Legion brought a unique international flair to the event. Significantly, the French President served as the Chief Guest for the sixth time, underscoring the strong diplomatic ties between India and France. This collaboration is further highlighted by the enduring partnership between the Indian and French armies, with the Indian army’s participation in last year’s joint celebration of Bastille Day in Paris.
The Republic Day parade boasts an impressive aerial exhibition, with the addition of two Rafale Fighter Jets from the French Air Force to the Indian Air Force’s flypast. This year’s presentation includes 29 fighter aircraft, eight transport planes, 13 helicopters, and a heritage aircraft soaring above the Kartavya Path. Notably, a key highlight is the depiction of the historic ‘Tangail airdrop’ during the 1971 victory, featuring the inaugural appearance of the indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas. Furthermore, the parade showcases six Rafale fighter jets in a distinctive ‘Vajraang formation,’ marking a significant milestone in its historical narrative.
At Kartavya Path in New Delhi, President Droupadi Murmu spearheads the Republic Day festivities alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, who serves as the Chief Guest at the parade. The event is poised to spotlight India’s vibrant cultural diversity, unity, and progress, underscoring its military strength fueled by advancing indigenous capabilities. Additionally, the celebration emphasises the burgeoning influence of Nari Shakti, symbolising women’s empowerment.
In a historic moment, the parade introduces over 100 women artists showcasing their musical prowess with traditional Indian instruments. Additionally, the Kartavya Path witnesses the inaugural presence of an all-women Tri-Service contingent, marching with pride. The audience is captivated by women pilots during the Fly-past, exemplifying the strength of Nari Shakti. Furthermore, the contingents of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) exclusively feature women personnel.