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India Marks Its Anniversary With Cautious Celebration

January 27, 2002|Times Wire Services

NEW DELHI — India peacefully celebrated the anniversary of its birth as a republic Saturday with heavily armed security forces on the streets to prevent any violence at a time of tension with neighboring Pakistan.

The main Republic Day parade in the capital, normally a proud display of military might, was relatively muted, with most troops and equipment deployed along the Pakistani border.

With 65,000 police backed by anti-aircraft guns on the ground, buglers played as Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee paid homage to dead soldiers.

Across the nation, tens of thousands of police and paramilitary troops on full alert guarded ceremonies and key buildings, but crowds were smaller than usual.

No major violence was reported by early evening.

Authorities had feared militants might launch a new assault on a nation still shaken by a Dec. 13 raid on its Parliament and last week's attack on a U.S. cultural office in the city of Calcutta.

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