NEW DELHI, India: The US President Barack Obama attended India’s 66th Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Monday, becoming the first US head of state to do so.
The Republic Day is celebrated annually in India on January 26 to commemorate the day when the Constitution of India came into being, replacing the Government of India Act 1935 as the principal manuscript on January 26, 1950.
Obama has never attended an event of such a great symbolic importance overseas, the Deputy National Security Advisor for US President Ben Rhodes said earlier in a statement.
“It’s a unique event. Given the US-India history and given the importance of Republic Day in India, it is of great symbolic importance. And so that’s why he was more than pleased to accept the invitation,” Ben Rhodes said.
Obama arrived in India on Sunday for a three-day official visit, his second as the US president while first after Narendra Modi-led government was formed in New Delhi in May last year.
His visit is being seen as a sign of warming relations between the two allies.
The US president and the Indian prime minister held talks on Sunday and discussed issues pertained to bilateral defence and trade ties. The two sides also announced the breakthrough on the US-India civilian nuclear agreement signed in 2008.
The deal has been held up for six years because of differences over the liability US firms would face in India in the event of a nuclear accident.
The breakthrough will allow US companies to supply India with civilian nuclear technology.
Kashmiris observe Black Day on Indian Republic Day
Meanwhile, Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and all over the world are observing the Indian Republic Day as Black Day today.
The observance is aimed at reminding the world that India’s continued denial of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination is contrary to its claim of being a democratic republic.
The day will be marked with a complete strike in occupied Kashmir and anti-India demonstrations and rallies in world capitals.
The strict measures have been taken in the name of so-called security across the held territory.