India takes centre stage at Bastille Day parade

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India takes centre stage at Bastille Day parade

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India was the guest of honour at this year’s Bastille Day military parade in Paris.

A proud detachment of troops led the way down the Champs Elysees, watched by their Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his host Nicolas Sarkozy. France is already a key arms supplier to India, and the French President is eager to develop the two countries’ strategic relationship. The air display is always a crowd pleaser in a celebration commemorating the 1789 storming of the Bastille prison at the start of the French Revolution. And, for the lucky few, an invitation to the presidential Elysee palace is another highlight. Sarkozy stresses the economic crisis won’t threaten defence spending. But efforts have been made to downsize this year’s traditional Garden Party, where guests were eager to get a glimpse of France’s glamorous first lady, Carla Bruni.