NEW DELHI: India has politely turned down United Arab Emirates request to display its para-dropping skills at the Rajpath as part of the Republic Day parade citing security reasons. Crown Price of UAE Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will be the chief guest at the 2017 Republic Day parade celebrations. In response to UAE request, government has offered to accommodate their marching contingent in the parade. But, UAE, who is considered to be one of the close allies of Pakistan, has not responded to New Delhi’s refusal to its proposal.
According to sources in the South block, which houses the ministry of defence, as Crown prince of Abu Dhabi will be the chief guest of parade, they wished their skydivers to show their skills at Rajpath in front of VVIPs including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Pranab Mukerjee and other dignitaries. But the ministry of defence, which organizes the event, conveyed Abu Dhabi that security manual does not even allow low flying at parade venue citing security reasons. Only fly past by Indian Air Force fighters and helicopters are permitted at the Rajapath.
Moreover, in presence of high profile gathering, margin of error is very less as well as hovering of an aircraft above Rajpath might be a security threat, explained a senior official.
So, ministry of defence quietly informed UAE that, the gulf nation can send its marching contingent as well as military band to be part of the Republic Day.
“We have said no to their proposal as it was against security manual. But we can accommodate their marching contingent as well as military band, similar to what we received from France last year. French army and band took part in the parade in presence of their President François Hollande,” said a senior official in the South Block. Moreover, officials also fear overcast weather conditions during parade will make fly past of IAF difficult.
But, UAE, who is considered to be one of the close allies of Pakistan, has not responded to New Delhi’s refusal to its proposal. Crown Prince Zayad Al Nahyan will be the first leader from the Gulf at the parade since 2006 when Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud was the chief guest of Republic Day celebrations.
While French President Francois Hollande was the chief guest for last year, it was US President Barack Obama in 2015.