India became a republic on the 26th January, 1950, and since then this day is celebrated with a military parade and cultural show. This year the chief guest at the parade was crown prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi. He is also the deputy commander of the UAE armed forces.The crown prince earlier was warmly received by Modi. As a mark of solidarity, a contingent of 179 UAE soldiers from the 3 services and a military band led the parade. The parade showcased the Indian armed might and displayed the latest weaponry. In 2015 the chief guest at the parade was president Obama.

This signified a significant American shift towards India. In 2016, the French president Hollande was the chief guest. The significance of the R-Day parade has gone up since Modi took over as the Indian prime minister.

Close relationship

As a mark of friendship the Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world was lit up in colors of the Indian flag in Dubai. The UAE crown prince is leading a large delegation to India and a number of significant economic agreements are in the cards. The UAE -- which has surplus oil revenue -- is likely to invest a few billion dollars in India in infrastructure, as well as having a strategic relationship. As per the UAE ambassador to India Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al-Banna, 13 agreements and a strategic dialogue will be the cornerstone of the visit.

Modi and UAE

Modi visited the UAE last year -- another first as no Indian PM for years visited. At that time the UAE government had also allotted land for a Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi. Indians form a large expatriate workforce in the UAE and most utilities and services are managed by expatriates from India.

The parade this year was led by the UAE contingent and marched to their own band.

The Indian contingents followed the UAE soldiers. Last year, in a first, the French army marched on Rajpath. This year's R-Day parade is significant, as tension between India and China is on the upswing. Donald Trump will be watching the developments with interest as he has already said he favors a close relationship with India. Modi was one of the first leaders Donald spoke to after assuming the role of president.