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Cyril Ramaphosa becomes 2nd South African Prez to witness R-Day parade

Ramaphosa's presence at the celebrations was seen as significant as India is celebrating 150th birth anniversary of the father of the nation

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets South African President Cyril Ramaphosa prior to a meeting at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets South African President Cyril Ramaphosa 

South African Saturday joined a select group of world leaders, including Nelson Mandela, to have graced India's celebrations in the past few decades.

Ramaphosa, as the chief guest at the 70th celebrations, watched the colourful parade at the majestic Rajpath along with Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister and a host of other leaders.

He became the second from to grace the celebrations as chief guest after attended the event 24 years ago.

Ramaphosa, accompanied by spouse Dr Tshepo Motsepe and a delegation of ministers and senior officials, attended the 90-minute event at Rajpath, showcasing India's military might, cultural diversity and various facets of Mahatma Gandhi's life.

Ramaphosa's presence at the celebrations was seen as significant as is celebrating 150th birth anniversary of the father of the nation. had stayed 21 years in which played a pivotal role in moulding him as an apostle of peace.

His transformation is best described by anti-apartheid crusader "You gave us Mohandas Gandhi; we returned him to you as Mahatma Gandhi," Mandela had said.

Ramphosa arrived here on Thursday on a two-day visit, primarily to attend the Republic Day celebrations.

Last year, leaders of all 10 ASEAN countries attended the Republic Day celebrations.

In 2017, Crown of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the chief guest at the celebrations, while then French president graced the occasion in 2016.

In 2015, then US president watched the parade.

In 2014, Japanese Prime Minister was the chief guest at the celebrations, while 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, John Major, Mohammed Khatami and Jacques Chirac.

The then British prime minister John Major had attended the celebrations in 1993, Mandela participated as the South African president in 1995 while South Korean 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 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 president Nursultan Nazarbayev witnessed the parade here in 2010.

First Published: Sat, January 26 2019. 15:45 IST
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