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NEW DELHI : The Big Parade

On Thursday, on the broad avenue called Rajpath, the Republic Day parade and celebrations mark the 45th anniversary of India’s constitution, which proclaimed it a sovereign, democratic republic.

With the nation’s titular president, Shankar Dayal Sharma, taking the salutes, members of India’s army, navy, air force and other national services will march briskly past. Many military units date from the British Raj, and their colorful uniforms and headgear--plus herds of elephants and camels and other dashes of Indian exotica--make for unsurpassed pageantry.

It’s not all for fun, though. Republic Day is the occasion for India to put its most up-to-date weaponry on display, a badge of power on the subcontinent.


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