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Bastille Day: All You Need to Know About Europe’s Oldest and Largest Parade

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the guest of honor at France’s Bastille Day celebrations today.

PM Modi and President Emmanuel Macron will watch French and Indian soldiers march down the tree-lined Champs-Elysee avenue in Paris, while French-made Rafale fighter jets India bought for the IAF in 2015 will take part in the fly-past over the Arc de Triomphe.

The annual Bastille Day festivities commemorate the storming of the Bastille prison during the French Revolution.

The decision to honor Prime Minister Modi this year underscores the strengthening ties between France and India, as both nations celebrate 25 years of their “strategic partnership.”

During a speech to the Indian community in France on Thursday evening, Modi referred to President Macron as his “friend,” highlighting the close bond between the two leaders. He emphasized that this closeness extends beyond their personal relationship and serves as a testament to the enduring friendship between India and France.

Foreign leaders are seldom invited to the parade, which makes PM Modi’s presence all the more significant. US President Joe Biden was the last foreign leader to attend the parade in 2017.

Here are some interesting facts about Bastille Day:

  • Bastille Day is the common name given in English-speaking countries to the national day of France, which is celebrated on July 14 each year. In French, it is formally called the Fête nationale française (French National Celebration).
  • The French National Day is the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, a major event of the French Revolution, as well as the Fête de la Fédération that celebrated the unity of the French people on July 14, 1790.
  • Shortly after the storming of the Bastille (which had become a symbol of royal tyranny and oppression), feudalism was abolished on August 4. On August 26, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was proclaimed.
  • The first Bastille Day military parade was held in Paris in July 14, 1880.
  • Celebrations are held throughout France, including “the oldest and largest military parade in Europe” on the Champs-Élysées in Paris in front of the President of the Republic
  • The parade involves around 9,500 soldiers (7,800 on foot, the rest are crew members or cavalrymen), 380 vehicles, 240 horses and more than 80 planes and helicopters.
  • The annual parade has had only two interruptions: The first was during the German occupation from 1940-1944, the second was in 2020, when the parade was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • In 2016, a truck barreled through a pedestrian-filled crowd at a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, killing 86 people and injuring over 400.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the India – France Strategic Partnership, and Prime Minister’s visit will provide an opportunity to chart the course of the partnership for the future across diverse sectors such as strategic, cultural, scientific, academic and economic cooperation.

Source : MSN

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