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Obama attends Republic Day parade in India

January 26, 2015

President Barack Obama has become the first US leader to be guest of honor at India's annual Republic Day festivities. This is seen as a show of closer ties between India and the US.

Indien Parade Barack Obama 26.1.
Image: Getty Images/Noah Seelam

A 21-gun-salute began the parade under cloudy skies on the Rajpath, a boulevard connecting the presidential palace to India Gate in the capital, New Delhi.

Thousands of people gathered to watch the two-hour procession with troops, rows of tanks, missiles and formations of horses and camels. The event is an annual display of India's military power and cultural diversity.

The US president's visit is being seen as a display of solidarity between the US and India in the face of a well-armed and internationally-present China.

Modi said Obama's visit "reflects the transformation of our relationship."

Obama arrived in India on Sunday and has held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two leaders have agreed a series of deals including for US companies to set up up nuclear reactors in India, and a 10-year framework for defense ties.

Deals on cooperation also included the joint production of drone aircraft and equipment for Lockheed Martin Corp's C-130 military transport plane. Initiatives to help India use renewable energy to lower carbon intensity have also been agreed.

The two leaders have also established a communications hotline, the first for India at a leadership level.

Obama is to leave India, ahead of the original, three-day schedule to travel to Saudi Arabia following the death of King Abdullah.

jm/rg (Reuters, AP)