WATCH Russian diplomats dance on India’s Republic Day
Russian Ambassador to India Denis Alipov has extended greetings to Indians on Republic Day, wishing them “prosperity, well-being, and a very bright Amrit Kaal,” referring to the Indian government’s 25-year vision for development and transformation. The term ‘Amrit Kaal’ was first used by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2021 during the 75th Independence Day celebrations.
In a video shared by the diplomatic mission on Friday, dozens of Russian children and adults perform a blend of Bollywood and Russian traditional dances, adorned in colorful attire.
The South Asian nation celebrates its national day on January 26, commemorating the day in 1950 when the Constitution of India, which was drafted by visionary political leader and social reformer Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, came into effect, marking the nation’s transition from British rule to sovereign republic. The celebrations include a colorful parade on Rajpath, the ceremonial boulevard in the center of New Delhi. The procession showcases India’s rich cultural heritage, military prowess, and technological advancements.
Over the past five decades, India has welcomed several esteemed dignitaries as chief guests for the Republic Day parade. This year, French President Emmanuel Macron is the chief guest for the parade, following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Paris in July last year as a guest of honor for the French national day.
The invitation was extended to Macron after US President Joe Biden’s administration said he would not be able to make it. Modi invited Biden during the G20 leaders summit in New Delhi in September 2023.
Several Russian leaders have been chief guests during the Republic Day parade over the past decades, beginning with Soviet Defense Minister Georgy Zhukov in 1957, followed by Kliment Vorosholiv, the chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in 1960, and Aleksey Kosygin, the chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers in 1968. Russian President Vladimir Putin was the chief guest in 2007.
A significant portion of the weaponry and military hardware showcased during the Republic Day parades over the years was either from Russia or resulted from collaborative efforts between the two nations, most recently under New Delhi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, which aims to increase country’s self-reliance across sectors, including weapons manufacturing. This year, Russia is also represented at the parade by cadets from the Nakhimov Naval School and the St. Petersburg Cadet Corps Boarding School of the Ministry of Defense.
Despite India actively diversifying its sources of military procurements, Russia still constitutes nearly 50% of the arms imported by New Delhi, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). India was the world’s largest arms importer from 2018 to 2022, accounting for 11% of global imports, according to SIPRI.