Thousands of Indians converged on a ceremonial boulevard in the capital amid tight security to celebrate the Republic Day on Sunday, which marks the 1950 anniversary of the country's democratic constitution.
During the celebrations, schoolchildren, folk dancers, and police and military battalions marched through New Delhi's parade route, followed by a military hardware display.
Beyond the show of military power, the parade also included ornate floats highlighting India's cultural diversity as men, women and children in colorful dresses performed traditional dances, drawing applause from the spectators.
The 90-minute event, broadcast live, was watched by millions of Indians on their television sets across the country.
Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro was the chief guest for this year's celebrations.
He was accorded the ceremonial Guard of Honor by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the sprawling presidential palace.
Bolsonaro joined the two Indian leaders as the military parade marched through a central avenue near the Presidential Palace.
At the parade, Bolsonaro watched keenly as mechanized columns of Indian tanks, rocket launchers, locally made nuclear-capable missile systems and other hardware rolled down the parade route and air force jets sped by overhead.
Apart from attending the Republic Day celebrations, Bolsonaro's visit was also aimed at strengthening trade and investment ties across a range of fields between the two countries.
On Saturday, Modi and Bolsonaro reached an agreement to promote investment in each other's country.
Before the parade, Modi paid homage to fallen soldiers at the newly built National War Memorial in New Delhi as the national capital was put under tight security cover.
Smaller parades were also held in the state capitals.
Police said five grenades were lobbed in the eastern Assam state by separatist militants who have routinely boycotted the Republic Day celebrations. No one was injured, police said.
Sunday's blasts also come at a time when Assam has been witnessing continuous protests against the new citizenship law that have spread to many Indian states.
The law approved in December provides a fast-track to naturalization for persecuted religious minorities from some neighboring Islamic countries, but excludes Muslims.
Nationwide protests have brought tens of thousands of people from different faiths and backgrounds together, in part because the law is seen by critics as part of a larger threat to the secular fabric of Indian society.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday said the coronavirus outbreak in China is a sign that every country needs to be ready to timely detect and manage outbreaks of any type.
A number of Asian nations and countries from four continents have reported the virus. There has been no confirmed case in Bangladesh, yet.
France officially notified the WHO Regional Office for Europe of three confirmed cases on Friday. All of them had travelled from Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus.
In a statement, WHO underscored that timely action is fundamental for early containment and noted that the first confirmed cases of coronavirus in Europe were not unexpected.
It said the global nature of travels means that no country is exempted from infectious disease spread. “This also means that no country can afford postponing the establishment of all necessary measures to protect their people,” the UN health agency said.
So far, 1,975 confirmed cases and 56 deaths have been reported, according to AP.
Small numbers of cases have been found in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, the US, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, France and Australia. Canada said it discovered its first case.
WHO said it is working together with Chinese authorities and doing everything it can to investigate the outbreak.
At a time of uncertainty about how the virus originated and behaves, the health agency said it is even more critical that everyone acts as one.
“We need to move as one region, as one world in scaling up our ability to prepare and respond together,” it said. “The time is now to make ourselves ready.”
China said materials donated from overseas to fight pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) will get fast-track clearance at customs.
All-out efforts will be made to ensure fast clearance for imported medicines, disinfectant products, protective equipment and medical devices to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) said in a statement issued on Sunday.
The GAC has ordered "green passages" and special service windows to be opened at customs on site to accelerate clearing process for medical material donations from overseas.
In case of emergency, customs shall allow the donated supplies to be cleared after simple filing works, and the rest of the procedures can be completed later, according to the statement.
In an earlier statement, China's customs and health authorities have asked outbound and inbound travelers to report their health conditions to customs to curb the cross-border spread of the coronavirus.
Chinese health authorities announced Sunday that 1,975 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus, including 324 in critical conditions, had been reported in the country by the end of Saturday.
Two blasts went off Sunday morning in India's northeastern state of Assam, police said.
So far no casualties were reported in the twin blasts.
The blasts went off at two places in Dibrugarh district, about 424 km northeast of Dispur, the capital city of Assam.
According to officials, one blast went off near a Gurudwara in Dibrugarh, while as another explosion took place at a shop at Graham Bazaar in the district.
"Two explosions have taken place here but there are no reports of anyone being killed or injured in these blasts," a police official said.
Following the blasts, police officials rushed to the spot.
A police official said they have initiated an investigation into the blasts.
The blasts took place ahead of the India's Republic Day function in the state.
Jan. 26 is celebrated as the Republic Day in India as it marks adoption of the constitution in the country. The main function is held in New Delhi, where India's armed forces - army, navy and air force display their skills and military might.
Authorities have beefed up security and made adequate arrangements across the country to ensure Republic day functions pass off peacefully.
The death toll from a new virus in China has risen to 56 with 1,975 total cases reported, as China's leader called the accelerating spread of the disease a grave situation.
The figures reported Sunday morning cover the previous 24 hours and mark an increase of 15 deaths and 688 cases.
The government also reported five cases in Hong Kong, two in Macao and three in Taiwan. Small numbers of cases have been found in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, the U.S., Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, France and Australia.
Canada said it discovered its first case, the man is his 50s who recently flew from Wuhan to Guangzhou, China, and then on to Toronto.
President Xi Jinping on Saturday called the spreading illness a grave situation in remarks reported by state broadcaster CCTV. He spoke at a meeting of Communist Party leaders convened on Lunar New Year — the country's biggest holiday whose celebrations have been muted — and underlined the government's urgent, expanding efforts to control the outbreak
Travel agencies have been told to halt all group tours, the state-owned English-language China Daily newspaper reported, citing the China Association of Travel Services.
Millions of people traveling during the holiday have fueled the spread of the outbreak nationwide and overseas after it began in the city of Wuhan in central China. The vast majority of the infections and all the deaths have been in mainland China, but fresh cases are popping up.
Singapore reported its fourth case on Sunday, a 36-year-old man from Wuhan. The Health Ministry said he did not exhibit any symptoms on his flight. He developed a cough the next day, sought treatment on Jan. 24 and was immediately isolated.
South Korea confirmed its third case, according to Yonhap news agency.
In the heart of the outbreak where 11 million residents are already on lockdown, Wuhan banned most vehicle use, including private cars, in downtown areas starting Sunday, state media reported. Only authorized vehicles would be permitted, the reports said.
The city will assign 6,000 taxis to neighborhoods, under the management of resident committees, to help people get around if they need to, China Daily said.
In Hong Kong, leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, the highest one, and close primary and secondary schools for two more weeks on top of next week's Lunar New Year holiday. They will reopen Feb. 17.
Lam said direct flights and trains from Wuhan would be blocked.
In a sign of the growing strain on Wuhan's health care system, the official Xinhua News Agency reported that the city planned to build a second makeshift hospital with about 1,000 beds. The city has said another hospital was expected to be completed Feb. 3.
The new virus comes from a large family of what are known as coronaviruses, some causing nothing worse than a cold. It causes cold- and flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever, and in more severe cases, shortness of breath. It can worsen to pneumonia, which can be fatal.
China cut off trains, planes and other links to Wuhan on Wednesday, as well as public transportation within the city, and has steadily expanded a lockdown to 16 surrounding cities with a combined population of more than 50 million — greater than that of New York, London, Paris and Moscow combined.
China's biggest holiday, Lunar New Year, unfolded Saturday in the shadow of the virus. Authorities canceled a host of events, and closed major tourist destinations and movie theaters.
Temples locked their doors, Beijing's Forbidden City and Shanghai Disneyland closed, and people canceled restaurant reservations ahead of the holiday, normally a time of family reunions, sightseeing trips and other festivities in the country of 1.4 billion people.
"We originally planned to go back to my wife's hometown and bought train tickets to depart this afternoon," said Li Mengbin, who was on a stroll near the closed Forbidden City. "We ended up canceling. But I'm still happy to celebrate the new year in Beijing, which I hadn't for several years."
Temples and parks were decorated with red streamers, paper lanterns and booths, but some places started dismantling the decor.
People in China wore medical masks to public places like grocery stores, where workers dispensed hand sanitizer to customers. Some parts of the country had checkpoints for temperature readings and made masks mandatory.
French automaker PSA Group said it will evacuate its employees from Wuhan, quarantine them and then bring them to France. The Foreign Ministry said it was working on "eventual options" to evacuate French citizens from Wuhan "who want to leave." It didn't elaborate.
The National Health Commission said it is bringing in medical teams to help handle the outbreak, a day after videos circulating online showed throngs of frantic people in masks lined up for examinations and complaints that family members had been turned away at hospitals that were at capacity.
The Chinese military dispatched 450 medical staff, some with experience in past outbreaks, including SARS and Ebola, who arrived in Wuhan late Friday to help treat many patients hospitalized with viral pneumonia, Xinhua reported.
Xinhua also said medical supplies are being rushed to the city, including 14,000 protective suits, 110,000 pairs of gloves and masks and goggles.
The rapid increase in reported deaths and illnesses does not necessarily mean the crisis is getting worse but could reflect better monitoring and reporting of the virus.
It is not clear how lethal the new coronavirus is or even whether it is as dangerous as the ordinary flu, which kills tens of thousands of people every year in the U.S. alone.