Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan today joined a select group of world leaders who have graced India's Republic Day celebrations in the last few decades.
Al Nahyan, who was the Chief Guest at the 68th Republic Day celebrations, watched the impressive parade at the majestic Rajpath along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi besides the country's top political and military brass.
Last year, French President Francois Hollande was the Chief Guest of the parade while in 2015, US President Barack Obama, who demitted office last week, had graced the occasion. In 2014, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the Chief Guest at the celebrations while Bhutan king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck attended the parade in 2013.
The heads of state and government who have attended the Republic Day celebrations include Nicolas Sarkozy, Vladimir Putin, Nelson Mandela, John Major, Mohammed Khatami and Jacques Chirac among others.
The then British Prime Minister Major had attended the celebrations in 1993, Mandela participated as South African President in 1995 while South Korean President President Lee Myung Bak witnessed the parade in 2010.
In 2008, Sarkozy participated in the celebrations as French President while another French President Chirac graced the occasion in 1998.
The world leaders who attended the celebrations include Russian President Putin in 2007, Nepal's King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev in 1999, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2004, Iranian President Mohammed Khatami in 2003, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in 2011 and President of Maldives Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in 1991.
In 2009, South Korean President Lee Myung Bak had graced the occasion as the Chief Guest while Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev witnessed the parade here 2010.