U.S. President Barack Obama, watches first lady Michelle Obama shakes hand with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sunday. Pic: AP.

U.S. President Barack Obama, watches first lady Michelle Obama shakes hand with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sunday. Pic: AP.

NEW DELHI (AP) — President Barack Obama is presiding over a grand display of Indian military hardware, marching bands and elaborately dressed camels as chief guest at India’s annual Republic Day festivities.

The crowd erupted in cheers as Obama emerged from his armored limousine and took his place on the rain-soaked parade route in the capital of New Delhi. The parade is the centerpiece of Obama’s three-day visit to India.

Obama’s attendance at the Republic Day celebrations was unlike any other event he has participated in during his overseas travel as president. He was to spend more than two hours on an outdoor viewing platform, an unusual amount of time given Secret Service security concerns.

Obama nodded in approval as Indian tanks and rocket launchers rolled down the parade route and helicopters flew overhead.