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Indian army to be guest of honour on Bastille Day

For the first time, the Indian Army will be the guests of honour at France's traditional Bastille Day parade on July 14. President Nicolas Sarkozy's office expressed the hope of strengthening future ties between the two nations.


On July 14, the Indian Army will march for the first time on the Champs-Elysees of Paris, where 400 of its soldiers will take part in the Bastille Day parade, under the watchful eyes of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


India, the guests of honour for this year’s parade, is sending three batallions.


In uniforms inspired by those of the former British Empire, they will march to music “less militaristic” and quicker than that to be used by the French soldiers. The Indian Army made a “strong impression” during their rehearsals, according to a French officer.


Laurent Teisseire, spokesman for the French ministry of defence, said the invitation extended to the Indian military illustrates “very clearly” the “strong relations” between France and India.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy was the guest of honour at the 2008 military parade commemorating the founding of the Indian republic in New Delhi.


The president’s office said the invitation should “give a place of honour to the strategic partnership” and that France “recognises that India will play a primary role on the international scene, and that we support India’s candidacy to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council.”

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