PM gets rare honour as Chief Guest on French Day Jul 14, 2009 at 1656 hrs French President Nicolas Sarkozy talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the presidential tribune prior to Bastille Day parade. Paris: In a rare honour for India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the Chief Guest of Honour at French National Day celebrations witnessing a "magnificent" parade in which a contingent of Indian soldiers also marched to the soul stirring music of 'Saare Jahan Se Achchha'. Singh, who became the first Indian leader to be the Chief Guest at the French celebrations, said this reflects the friendship and strategic partnership between the two countries and the cordial ties between their armed forces. His remarks follow an impressive military parade which was opened with a detachment of 400 soldiers from the three defence services of India, who were attired in ceremonial uniforms and marched to the tunes of 'Saare Jahan Se Achchha' and 'Kadam Kadam Badhaye Jaa'. "The magnificent parade we have witnessed dramatises its strength and dynamism of this great nation," the Prime Minister said in a statement after the event, which was held amid tight security and witnessed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, his wife Carla Bruni and other top dignitaries. "It was an honour for India to have a contingent representing all three services of our armed forces leading the parade," Singh said, adding he was delighted to be participating at the National Day of France.