French contingents rehearsing at Vijay Chowk ahead of Republic Day 2024

Last July, during the Bastille Day celebrations in France, a group of 269 soldiers from the Indian Armed Forces took part in the event. This special occasion was made even more significant as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was invited as the guest of honor. Now, it is India's turn to extend an invitation to French President Emmanuel Macron for the upcoming Republic Day celebrations. This gesture highlights the strong bond and friendship between the two nations.

Image Source : ANI

A 95-member marching contingent and a 33-member band contingent from France were seen taking part in Republic Day rehearsals at New Delhi’s Vijay Chowk on Saturday. The French Air and Space Force also participated in fly-past rehearsals above the national capital’s Kartavya Path ahead of the 75th Republic Day Parade.

According to defence officials, French Air Force Rafale fighter jets and multirole tanker transport aircraft will participate in the Republic Day parade. Some Indian personnel, including Squadron Leader Sumita Yadav, who took part in France’s Bastille Day parade last year with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the chief guest there, are also taking part in the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.

Notably, French President Emmanuel Macron has been invited as the guest of honour for this year’s Republic Day celebrations. Macron confirmed that he will visit India on January 26 and thanked PM Narendra Modi for the invite. This is the sixth time a French leader will be the chief guest at Republic Day celebrations here in the national capital.

New Delhi’s invitation to Macron for the Republic Day celebrations comes amid a rapid upswing in ties between the two countries including in areas of defence and security, clean energy, trade and investment and new technologies. PM Modi was invited as the guest of honour in France’s Bastille Day celebrations in July last year.

India and France also committed to cooperating in the co-development and co-production of advanced defence technologies, including for the benefit of third countries. In July, the Union Ministry of Defence approved the purchase of 26 Rafale (marine) jets from France, primarily for deployment on board the indigenously built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.

A 269-member contingent of the Indian Armed Forces led by a military band also participated in the Bastille Day Parade in July to mark the 25th anniversary of the India-France Strategic Partnership. Three Rafale fighter jets of the Indian Air Force joined the flypast along with French jets.

The Indian Army contingent comprising 77 marching personnel and 38 members of the band was represented by the Punjab Regiment and led by Capt Aman Jagtap at the magnificent Champs-Élysées in the heart of Paris.

Republic Day preparations

Preparations for India’s 75th Republic Day are in full swing, as the Delhi Police on Friday prohibited the flying of sub-conventional aerial platforms, including paragliders, paramotors, hang gliders, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Moreover, given the Republic Day celebrations, no flights will arrive or depart from Delhi Airport between 10:20 am and 12:45 pm from January 19 to January 26, according to Delhi International Airport Limited.

The C-295 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force will participate in this year’s Republic Day parade for the first tiume, the IAF said on Friday (January 19). A total of 51 aircraft of the IAF would participate in the fly-past this year, an official informed. The IAF informed that the force will depict the famous Tangail airdrop of the 1971 victory over Pakistan.

The Indian Army will showcase the ‘Made-in-India’ weapon systems and platforms in the upcoming Republic Day parade in the national capital, and LCH Prachand chopper, Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers and Nag anti-tank missiles will be the main attraction of this year’s celebration. The LCH Prachand is the first indigenous Multi-Role Combat Helicopter designed and manufactured by HAL.

Besides the Light Combat Helicopter, the Indian Army would also showcase the weaponised version of the ALH Dhruv choppers, also known as the Rudra. The weapon systems to be showcased at the parade also include the Pinaka and the Swathi radar which have been successfully exported to foreign customers by Indian entities. Both have been developed by the DRDO.(input from ANI)

Thuý Hằng