New Delhi: While Republic Day is an annual delight for Indians, for some of the Americans who attended the parade on Monday, the occasion turned out to be an American delight, and they expressed hope that US President Barack Obama's visit would strengthen ties between the two countries.
John Mathew from New York who attended the ceremonial parade for the firs time was happy to be part of the audience.
"This is the first time I am attending Indian Republic Day celebrations here. My wife and I have come here on tourist visa. It is also a great moment that a US President is a Chief Guest at the celebrations. His visit will definitely strengthen ties between India and America," Mathew said.
Obama's three-day visit to India, his second as a President and first as a Chief Guest at the Republic Day has attracted worldwide media attention, besides domestic media turning the spotlight on the Indo-US ties, as his visit is supposed to be unprecedented.
The last time he visited India was in 2010, he made a stop over at Mani Bhawan in Mumbai, a place associated with Mahatma Gandhi's memories, and held a town hall meet with students at the St. Xavier's College in that city.
Kerry, another American who attended the celebrations also hoped that Obama's visit would benefit both the countries.
"It is a very good initiative that President Barack Obama has been invited by India for its Republic Day celebrations, which I hope will help build a strong relationship between India and the US," he said.
Some of the Indians, who "felt lucky" to have seen Obama and his majestic 'Beast', also shared the same sentiments.
42-year-old Rajesh Dabas, a Guargaon-based businessman said, "US accepting India's invitation also means that America acknowledges us (India)."
"It means our stature is no the same and US recognises it. And, I believe, both countries can work wonders together, if we can co-operate in the right fields in the right manner," he said.
Rajesh's daughter Anjali, a class 10 student, said, "India and the US both can learn good things from each other. So, we can learn from them as to how to keep our cities clean, just like they have picked up our Yoga."
"I also think that the US being a developed country can help develop India, a developing country. But, overall, Obama's visit would definitely boost our mutual relationship," she said.
Incidentally, the US during Obama's current visit signed three agreements with India to develop three smart cities in Allahabad, Ajmer and Vishakhapatnam.