India celebrates 70th Republic Day


India's capital city hosted the largest Republic Day parade. The day marks the date in 1950 when India's first post-independence constitution took effect. The country had declared its independence from the British Empire three years earlier.

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.

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.



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