New Delhi: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa Saturday joined a select group of world leaders to have graced India’s Republic Day celebrations in the past few decades.
Ramaphosa , as the chief guest at the 70th Republic Day celebrations, watched the colourful parade at the majestic Rajpath along with President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of other leaders.
He is the second South African President after Nelson Mandela to be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations.
Last year, leaders of all 10 ASEAN countries attended the Republic Day celebrations.
In 2017, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the chief guest at celebrations, while then French President Francois Hollande graced the occasion in 2016.
In 2015, then US President Barack Obama watched the parade.
In 2014, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the chief guest at the celebrations, while Bhutan 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, Nelson Mandela, John Major, Mohammed Khatami and Jacques Chirac.
The then British Prime Minister John Major had attended the celebrations in 1993, Mandela participated as South African President in 1995 while South Korean President 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 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.
In 2009, South Korean President Lee Myung Bak had graced the occasion as the chief guest, while Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev witnessed the parade here in 2010.