India is set to celebrate its 67th Republic Day on Tuesday, with French President Francois Hollande as chief guest at Rajpath in Delhi, a year after US President Barack Obama did the honours. There is high alert in the capital and in much of the country due to threats of possible terror attacks, especially after authorities busted terror cells in several states in recent days. The Intelligence Bureau has reportedly warned of terror threats in 23 cities in India around Republic Day.
Hitting out at terror groups, Hollande has promised to join hands with India to fight the menace. France is still in a state of emergency following the 13 November, 2015, ISIS terror attacks in Paris. “Today, there are all kind of terrorist threats that are hovering around countries such as India and France, and one of the main aims of my visit here is to reinforce and strengthen the cooperation against terrorism between our two countries,” the French president was quoted as saying by IANS on Monday. A massive security force of 50,000 personnel of the Delhi Police and paramilitary forces, as well as snipers, will ensure the capital city is fortified on Tuesday. Airspace over Delhi will also be monitored, while 15,000 CCTV cameras will help secure prime locations in the capital.
However, despite the security alert, the 67th Republic Day promises to be a spectacular affair, with many firsts set to be seen this year. Foreign troops will march along with Indian troops for the first time on Repuiblic Day. French troops have been participating in marching exercise along with Indian troops over the past week. For the first time, an all-woman contingent called “Women Daredevils CRPF” will showcase stunts during the event, a feature of the R-Day parade that is always one of the most popular ones. This year, the R-Day parade will also see the return of four-legged troops, with 36 dogs of the Indian Army and 90 camels of the Border Security Force joining the march.