New Delhi, Jan 26 : South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday joined a select group of world leaders to grace India's majestic Republic Day celebrations at the Rajpath here.
Seated next to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ramaphosa took keen interest in appreciating the various tableaux that went past the VVIP enclosure.
President Ram Nath Kovind took the salute.
Mr Ramaphosa was often seen referring to the booklet on the Republic Day parade and various contingents.
Mr Ramaphosa is the second South African President after the illustrious Nelson Mandela to be the chief guest at India's Republic Day celebrations.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has bestowed on President Cyril Ramaphosa the honour of Chief Guest at the 70th Republic Day celebrations. This prestigious honour was also granted to Former President Nelson Mandela in 1995 at the 46th Republic Day celebrations," said a tweet from South African department of International Relations and Cooperation.
The world leaders who attended the Republic Day celebrations include the US President Barack Obama in 20115, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2014, Russian President Vladimir 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.
The Republic Day Parade Ceremony commenced with Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and three chiefs of armed forces Gen Bipin Rawat, Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa and Admiral Sunil Lamba were present on the occasion. (UNI)