French, Indian forces march in unity

It was an honour to have our armed forces at the French National Day parade, says Singh

French, Indian forces march in unity

Singh, who became the first Indian leader to be the Chief Guest at the French celebrations, said this reflects the friendship and strategic partnership between the two countries. His remarks follow an impressive military parade which was opened with a detachment of 400 soldiers from the three defence services of India, who were attired in ceremonial uniforms and marched to the tunes of Saare Jahan Se Achchha and Kadam Kadam Badhaye Jaa.

“The magnificent parade we have witnessed dramatises its strength and dynamism of this great nation,” Singh said in a statement after the event, which was held amid tight security and witnessed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, his wife Carla Bruni and other top dignitaries.

“It was an honour for India to have a contingent representing all three services of our armed forces leading the parade,” Singh said, adding he was delighted to be participating at the National Day of France.

The Indian soldiers, along with French troops, marched from the Arc de Triomphe to the presidential stand at the end of the 1.5-km stretch of Champs Elysees, to the sound of Indian martial music played by a 90-member military band.

Maratha Regiment, one of the oldest infantry regiments of Indian army created in 1768 and which was deployed in Europe during the Second World War was part of the parade.

The Air Force band was greeted lustily by the parade watchers as they did a quick march. The event also witnessed an impressive fly-past as the French jets flew overhead releasing trails of red, white and blue smoke to represent the flag of this country. In the presidential stand, Singh and Sarkozy were joined by Combodian PM Hun Sen and German President Horst Koehler.

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