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ITBP motorcycle daredevil team members perform at Kartvya Path during the full dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day parade. India will celebrate its 74th Republic Day on 26 January 2023Getty Images

India is set to celebrate its 74th Republic Day on Thursday with a colourful parade displaying military might and cultural diversity.

The public holiday marks the anniversary of India officially adopting its constitution, making it a sovereign republic.

Its highlight is a parade which is held in capital city Delhi and telecast live across the country.

Every year, the country also invites a foreign dignitary as the chief guest to the parade – this year, Egypt’s president Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi is the guest of honour.

Thousands of people brave the January chill to watch the parade, which passes through the newly renovated Kartavya Path (formerly Rajpath).

Soldiers from India’s military regiments march past as India’s president, prime minister and other guests watch on.

Members of the military contingent from Egypt, march during the full dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day parade, on January 23, 2023 in New Delhi, India.

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Indian soldiers march during the full dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day parade, on January 23, 2023 in New Delhi,

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Some regiments come astride camels and horses – which are also decked in colourful finery – accompanied by the sound of drums and bagpipes.

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) Band Camel contingent march at Kartvya Path during the full dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day parade India will celebrate its 74th Republic Day on 26 January 2023

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There’s an exciting aerial show, with fleets of aircraft streaking across the sky in dazzling formations.

NEW DELHI, INDIA - 2023/01/23: Indian Air Force (IAF) Fighter aircraft Jaguars seen flying over Kartvya Path during the full dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day parade. India will celebrate its 74th Republic Day on 26 January 2023.

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The spectacle then makes way for elaborate floats or tableaux representing different Indian states.

These are usually based on cultural or historical milestones the states want to highlight. The mood is celebratory as performers dance and wave their way through the crowds.

Artists perform beside the tableaux of Haryana state during the full dress rehearsal of the Republic Day Parade 2023, at Kartavya Path, on January 23, 2023 in New Delhi, India

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Different states and districts also conduct their own, smaller parades and cultural programmes.

Students of Government senior secondary school kadipur perform the Punjabi dance during the full dress rehearsal of the 74th republic day parade at Tau Devi Lal Stadium sector-38 near Rajiv chowk, on January 24, 2023 in Gurugram, India

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Several government departments also have their own tableaux showcasing India’s achievements in the fields of agriculture and science and technology.

The first parade in 1950 was held to mark the end of India’s ties to the British empire.

“Three thousand men of the armed forces marched before the president. The artillery fired a thirty-one gun salute while Liberator planes of the Indian air force flew overhead,” historian Ramachandra Guha wrote of the first parade in his book India After Gandhi.

A military parade past India Gate on the Rajpath in Delhi, India, possibly the Delhi Republic Day parade, circa 1965.

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Over the years, the procession became longer and more colourful, and it’s a matter of pride for Indian states and military regiments to be chosen to participate in it.

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