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Indien Tag der Republik
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Nath

India celebrates 70th Republic Day

January 26, 2019

Millions of Indians tuned in to watch a colorful display of India's military power and culture in the capital city, New Delhi. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was in attendance as the guest of honor.


Thousands of onlookers watched a parade of India's military equipment and cultural heritage in New Delhi on Saturday, as the country celebrated its 70th Republic Day.

Soldiers in colorful military gear, camel-mounted border guards, tanks, missiles and groups of men, women and children wearing traditional regional clothing were part of the vibrant parade that marched down the ceremonial boulevard in the capital city.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa attended as the guest of honor after US President Donald Trump declined the invitation, citing a scheduling problem.

Some 25,000 police and other security forces were on duty throughout the city to guard the event.

Other Indian states held similar parades to mark the occasion. Separatist militants in Jammu-Kashmir and Manipur had called for strikes during the celebrations, but there were no reports of any violence in either state.

Read more: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier celebrates diversity in India

Indian army soldiers march down a boulevard in New Delhi to mark Republic Day
Thousands lined the ceremonial boulevard to observe the festivitiesImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Swarup

Celebrating Gandhi

The celebration marks the date in 1950 when India's first post-independence constitution entered force, three years after India seceded from the British Empire.

Many groups parading down the boulevard in New Delhi celebrated Mahatma Gandhi, the pro-Independence leader who became synonymous with India's fight for self-determination.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Gandhi's birth. Gandhi had a strong connection to South Africa, where his experience under the Apartheid regime had a strong impact on his political thought.

amp/rc (AFP, AP, dpa)

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