“I am deeply honoured to be the first American president to join you in celebrating India’s Republic Day.”
Barack Obama became the first American President to attend India’s Republic Day parade, on Monday 26th January 2015.
The Republic Day ceremony included a military procession and a cultural display by dancers and performers of India’s cultural diversity.
The uniformed soldiers, performers, and crowds that thronged to New Delhi to be a part of the event braved the fog and rain.
Republic Day marks the day that India became a Republic by adopting India’s constitution in 1950. This was three years after independence from Britain in 1947.
In a toast at the State Dinner, Barack Obama said: “I am deeply honoured to be the first American president to join you in celebrating India’s Republic Day.”
Mr Obama added: “We will honor the generations of Indians who built this nation through toil and tears and iron will.”
Narendra Modi said that India and the United States were on a ‘new journey’ of co-operation.
The second day of Mr Obama’s three-day visit, it was a sign of closer ties between the US and India.
The Indian Prime Minister set the tone by greeting the American President with a bear hug at the airport on Sunday 25th January 2015.
India and the US have agreed deals to co-operate in the areas of civil nuclear energy, defence, the economy, renewable energy, and climate change.
Both countries say that they are committed to seeing bi-lateral trade increase five-fold, from $100 billion a year, to $500 billion dollars a year.
President Obama’s visit has witnessed the most comprehensive security operation ever seen in India.
At the Republic Day Parade, Mr Obama and Mr Modi were sat inside a bullet-proof-glass enclosure.
The US President arrived at the event in his iconic car, known as the The Beast, which is described as a fortress on wheels.
Approximately 15,000 security cameras have been installed in Delhi, and a no-fly zone within a radius of 400km of New Delhi has been in place.
Furthermore, all 438 rooms at the Maurya Sheraton, one of Delhi’s top hotels, and a favourite of former presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush, have been booked for President Obama and his entourage.
Indians have been excited at the visit of the US President and the First Lady, Michelle Obama, with many using the #NamasteObama and #NamastePOTUS hashtags on Twitter.
Even Bollywood actors have shown their interest in Mr Obama’s visit. One of Bollwyood’s rising stars, Shraddha Kapoor, tweeted:
Fingers and toes crossed for some serrrrriously good plans for India! #ObamaInIndia
— Shraddha Kapoor (@ShraddhaKapoor) January 25, 2015
Photographs of Mr Obama apparently chewing gum at the event have also been circulating on social media.
One of the more quirky displays of support was from Ukrainian actress, Nataliya Kozhenova, who had the images of Mr Obama and Mr Modi painted on her back.
On Tuesday 27th January 2015, President Obama will join Prime Minister Modi in his monthly radio address. Broadcast on All India Radio, and all FM and community stations, it has the potential to reach 99% of India’s 1.2 billion population.
This visit from a US president and his family to India definitely identifies the importance of strengthening American and Indian relationships for the growth of India as a leader in business.