No occasion in New Delhi’s official calendar is as laden with nationalist imagery as the celebration, every Jan. 26, to mark the day in 1950 when India’s constitution came into force. Tanks, missiles and thousands of soldiers, along with elaborate floats representing the county’s states, roll down Rajpath, the Indian capital’s broadest avenue, to commemorate the milestone in a grand, Soviet-style parade. Which is why, this year, when U.S. President Barack Obama takes his place next to India’s leaders to witness the pageantry, there will be no mistaking the political symbolism.
Obama, who arrives here at the weekend, will be the first American leader to attend the parade, and his presence on Rajpath alongside the Indian President Pranab Mukherjee — the country’s ceremonial head of state — and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will send out a clear message that the relationship ...
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