india republic day 2016
French President Francois Hollande (L) delivers his press statement as India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks on at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India Reuters

India is celebrating the 67th Republic Day on Tuesday with a ceremonial parade in the capital that showcases the country's military prowess.

French President Francois Hollande is the chief guest at this year's Republic Day parade. For the first time in history a 76-member French Army contingent will offer salute to the President of India.

Hollande is the fifth French president to be the chief guest at India's Republic Day parade.

The ceremonies begin at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, the war memorial at the ceremonial avenue of Rajpath where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay homage to the martyrs.

India was formally declared a Republic on 26th January, 1950, after becoming independent from British rule on August 15, 1947.

New Delhi has tightened security arrangements in the run up to the Republic Day celebrations in view of intelligence inputs about terror plots and the recent militant attack on the Pathankot air force base.

The security cordon includes a 40,000-strong police personnel, air defence batteries and the army's quick reaction teams (QRTs). Anti-aircraft guns have been deployed with instructions to shoot down any object flying without permission.

Special Protection Group (SPG) and National Security Guards (NSG) personnel keep a tight vigil on security arrangements.

Progress in Rafale deal

India, looking to modernize its air force, said it has made headway in the purchase of French-made Rafale fighter jets.

"We have completed an inter-governmental agreement for the purchase of 36 Rafales, with the exception of the financial aspects," Modi said after receiving Hollande.

"France and India are two great democracies... therefore we are prime targets for terrorists who cannot abide liberty, democracy or culture. We must therefore co-operate more on security," Hollande said.

Google carried a doodle depicting the march of a caparisoned camel contingent of the country's Border Security Force (BSF).