• Indian Army soldiers parade at Republic Day 2017.

Indian Army soldiers parade at Republic Day 2017. (Photo : Indian Army)

For one-and-a-half hours along the magnificent Rajpath (King's Highway) in New Delhi, the Indian Armed Forces carried out a magnificent display of Indian military power to celebrate India's 68th Republic Day on Jan. 26.

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With the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as guest of honor, the military put on a spectacular display of might meant to inspire patriotism among Indians and give pause to India's potential foes, Pakistan and China.

The Crown Prince is the first royalty from any Middle East country to attend R-Day. He's also Deputy Supreme Commander of the Union Defense Force, the armed forces of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Again, it was the impressive military parade the expectant public sought to see and they weren't disappointed.

For the first time, the public saw a marching formation of the elite "Black Cat" commandos of the National Security Guard (NSG), a Special Forces unit under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). NSG personnel are often referred to as Black Cats because of their black uniforms and black cat insignia on their uniforms.

The Indian Army paraded fearsome weapons such as the T-90M Bhishma main battle tank tailored to army needs; the BMP-2 Sarath amphibious infantry fighting vehicle; BrahMos cruise missiles (the world's fastest) on their mobile autonomous launchers; the Dhanush 155 mm towed howitzer; the mobile BEL Weapon Locating Radar that locates enemy artillery positions and the Akash medium-range mobile surface-to-air missile defense system.

The Indian Air Force had a magnificent fly past showing off its HAL Tejas multi-role light fighters and DRDO Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEWACS) aircraft.

The Air Force also conducted the grand finale of the parade, which was a spectacular flypast by IAF warplanes in formation. A formation of three Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft was wildly cheered.

The Indian Navy showcased the elite Marine Commandos; models of the indigenously built Kolkata-class Destroyer and the Kalvari-class next generation attack submarines. It also showcased a model of the Boeing P-8I Neptune Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

The marching contingents of Army included horse-mounted columns of the 61st Cavalry; the Mechanized Infantry Regiment; the Bihar Regiment; the 39 Gorkha Training Center; 58 Gorkha Training Center; the Madras Engineering Group and Centre and 103 Infantry Battalion.

The Navy contingent consisted of 144 young sailors. The paramilitary and other auxiliary civil forces included the Border Security Force's Camel Contingent; Indian Coast Guard; Central Reserve Police Force; Central Industrial Security Force; Delhi Police; the National Cadet Corps and the National Service Scheme.

A highlight of the parade was 149-member marching contingent from the UAE consisting of personnel from the Presidential Guards and the Union Defense Force. The marching UAE troops were led by a band of 35 musicians.