Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro today joined a select group of world leaders to have been chief guest at Republic Day celebrations in the past few decades. He is also the third President from Brazil to have been invited as the chief guest for the Republic Day.
Mr Bolsonaro watched the colourful parade at the majestic Rajpath along with President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of other leaders.
This is the first visit of President Bolsonaro to India after he assumed office on January 1, 2019. Invitation to President Bolsonaro had drawn criticism from certain quarters with questions raised over a "controversial" figure like him being chosen to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade.
Asked about the issue, Secretary (East) Vijay Thakur Singh had said last week that he is an elected leader in a democratic country which is an emerging power in the region and one with which India has strong and substantive relations.
The last time a Brazilian President was the chief guest was in 2004 when Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva attended the parade.
Mr Bolsonaro, who is on a four-day visit to India, held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday after which India and Brazil inked 15 agreements to ramp up cooperation in a wide range of areas, including oil and gas, and unveiled an action plan to further broadbase their strategic ties.
He is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising several ministers, senior officials, chairman of Brazil-India Friendship Group in the Brazilian Parliament, and businessmen.
With inputs from PTI and IANS