Leaders of 10 Asean countries on Friday attended India's Republic Day celebrations as chief guests at the majestic Rajpath, signifying India's growing ties with the powerful grouping. The Asean leaders joined President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Republic Day parade, making it an unprecedented event. Cold weather conditions and dense fog failed to dampen the enthusiasm of thousands of spectators who witnessed the nearly one- and- a- half-hour-long parade that marched down the eight-kilometre stretch from the Rajpath to the Red Fort amid an unprecedented security cover. ALSO READ: Republic Day 2018: Why it's time to introspect if India is going right way Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, Singaporean Premier Lee Hsien Loong, Brunei's Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah attended the event. ALSO READ: LIVE: Republic Day Parade ends with air show; BSF women bikers win hearts Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves as he leaves after attending the parade in New Delhi on Friday Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith and Cambodian Premier Hun Sen also watched the grand parade. The participation of the Asean leaders at the event comes amid China's growing efforts to expand its influence in the region. On Thursday, India and Asean held a commemorative summit celebrating 25 years of their ties. An equestrian academy player demonstrates tent-pegging skills in Bhopal India’s former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia were also present. A band leader performs at the parade in Kozhikode Minutes before the parade began, the prime minister, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air force paid tributes at the ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’.
According to tradition, after unfurling the national flag, the national anthem was played followed by a 21-gun salute. India’s Akash Army Launcher is displayed during the parade Photo: PTI A tableau of Karnataka on display at Rajpath Differently-abled children perform during the Republic Day celebrations in Bhopal An Army contingent marches across the historical ridge on the occasion of 69th Republic Day in Shimla