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 Sunday, 26 January, 2003, 11:27 GMT
High security for India Republic Day
Russian made T90 tanks recently acquired by the Indian army
India displays its latest military hardware at the Republic Day parade
India celebrated its 54th Republic Day amid unprecedented security arrangements.

Tens of thousands of soldiers and police were deployed on the streets of the Indian capital Delhi as India displayed its latest military hardware in a huge military parade.

Police said intelligence reports showed that some political leaders were on a hit-list of militants fighting for the independence of Indian-administered Kashmir.

Vajpayee and Khatamai
The chief guest Iranian President Khatami

Among those present on the occasion were the Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and many of country's senior leaders.

The chief guest at the parade was the Iranian President Mohammed Khatami.

The parade started with a 21-gun salute to the Indian President Abdul Kalam followed by a showering of flower petals over the audience by helicopters.

Military show

The military parade included the recently acquired Russian-made T-90 tanks and Brahmos - a cruise missile system with a velocity of 2.8 times of the speed of sound and with a maximum range of 290 kilometres.

Thousands of people gathered in Delhi to watch the country's military might, economic growth, cultural diversity and scientific advancement.

India Gate
Silence observed at India Gate

The day's programme started with the Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and other dignitaries observing a two-minute silence in memory of those Indian soldiers who have laid down their lives for the country.

Meanwhile, a general strike was observed in Indian administered Kashmir to mark the day.

The crowds that turned up to watch the government ceremony were bigger then previous years.

Separatist groups in the north-eastern part of India also called for a boycott of the republic day celebrations.

These groups have been fighting against the Indian security forces demanding greater autonomy.

See also:

26 Jan 03 | South Asia
22 Jan 01 | South Asia
10 Jan 01 | South Asia
23 Jan 01 | South Asia
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