New Delhi, Jan 25 (PTI) Members of the Egyptian military contingent who are set to take part in the 74th Republic Day Parade on Kartavya Path on January 26 are looking forward to the grand event, its leader Col Mahmoud Mohamed Abdelfattah Elkharasawy said on Wednesday and emphasised on the "great relationship" shared between India and Egypt.
For the first time, a combined band and marching contingent of the Egyptian Armed Forces will be taking part in the ceremonial parade.
The contingent will consist of 144 soldiers, representing the main branches of the Egyptian Armed Forces led by Col Elkharasawy.
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.
A reception was hosted for the Egyptian contingent on Wednesday by the Indian army.
Interacting with PTI on the eve of the parade, Col Elkharasawy and a few members of the contingent expressed their delight to be in India.
"We are pleased to be in India, and it is our first visit. India is a great country, and it has a great civilisation, like Egypt. We are here for the last few days, and our Indian friends in uniform also helping us feel at home," Col Elkharasawy said in Arabic, which was interpreted in English by a member of the contingent.
Everyone in the contingent is looking forward to the grand event on Thursday when "we will also get to showcase the Egyptian Army", he said.
Dressed in smart uniform and sporting red berets, some of the members shared the experience of their first visit to India.
"India is a beautiful country, so many colours here. We are enjoying our stay here. We eat fish, chicken, whatever the hotel (we are staying at) is serving," said Maj Mohamed Roshdy.
He said 160 members will be part of the Egyptian contingent at the parade -- 144-strong military contingent and a 12-member band that will march behind them. Four officers will be in the vanguard, with Col Elkharasawy leading the contingent.
"Two officers behind the contingent leader will be carrying a ceremonial sword each and one officer will be bearing the Egyptian flag," Maj Roshdy said.
The Egyptian contingent took part in the full dress rehearsal of the parade on Monday. PTI KND SZM