For the first time, the Republic Day parade this year will have French soldiers marching down the Rajpath along with the Indian troops. French President Francois Hollande shall be the chief guest of the event on January 26th.
According to government sources, a contingent of French soldiers would be participating in the celebrations. Already a troop of 56 French soldiers of the 35th infantry Regiment of 7th Armoured Brigade is in India to participate in a joint military exercise in Rajasthan and began today. They are taking part in the counter-terrorism and counter- insurgency joint exercise named ‘Shakti 2016’.
The sources also add that some soldiers will be flying down from France to form a proper marching contingent, along with the already present troops.
The 35th Infantry Regiment’s origin dates back to its raising in 1604 at Lorraine, France. The regiment has as many as 12 battle honours to its credit. The battalion has varied combat experiences, having served in Algeria, Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan, amongst other places.