Parade moves foreign guests

Synchronised display of India’s military prowess and cultural diversity not only left the local spectators spellbound but also made a deep impact on many foreigners who had arrived at Rajpath to witness the 67th Republic Day Parade.

While the roar of Sukhois and Jaguars flying past sent the onlookers into a tizzy of joy, international spectators were particularly impressed by the rich ultural heritage which the parade showcased in the form of tableaux of different states.

Bastien Wanner, a Swiss citizen, and Solange Ghernaouti, a Swiss and French citizen, who had cancelled their trip to Bangalore to witness the parade, told Deccan Herald that the experience was so enriching and memorable that it would have taken them multiple trips of the country to know as much as they learnt on a single day.

 “The parade was a mix of India’s hard and soft power, which together becomes the country’s smart power. While I was impressed by the display of women cadets the most, the unity of the country was best presented when the tableaux of different states were moving and people from every parts of the country were applauding them; encouraging their effort,” said Bastien Wanner, a PhD student from Switzerland.

“India will look into the future; the woman commentator’s words were very propitious. We hope this turns out to be true,” he added.

Impressed by the arrangements made by the authorities to tackle such a huge crowd, Solange Ghernaouti, professor at the University of Laussane, Switzerland, said the police, and particularly the spectators, were very cooperative and friendly.

“An Indian sitting next to me explained to me the significance of the tableau showcasing the image of Dr B R Ambedkar. He also told me about Ambedkar’s contribution in the process of nation-building,” said Ghernaouti.

Being a French citizen, Ghernaouti was emotional seeing the French President arriving and waving to the crowd through his car window. This was also a special moment for her as the French 35th Infantry Regiment was given the honour of leading the marching contingents.

“Today I can feel the emotional connect which the Indian people have for their country. After seeing the French President arrive at the Rajpath, as a citizen of France I felt honoured. I can understand (what people would have felt) when the Indian Prime Minister came on the street and waved to the people, I think this shows his desire to reciprocate the feeling which the countrymen have for him and the nation,” she added.

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