Just a day after agreeing to strengthen military ties with India, President Obama watched Russian military hardware on display Monday at India’s annual Republic Day parade.
Mr. Obama was the guest of honor at the parade, which began with an overflight of Russian MIG helicopters. Later, a squadron of Russian-made T-90 tanks, painted a light yellow-green and a dark green, rolled down the street.
An Indian television announcer told the audience that the tanks have a maximum speed of 60 km/hour.
Mr. Obama reached an agreement with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday to renew a 10-year defense cooperation pact between the two nations. Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser, said Mr. Obama wasn’t bothered by the display of Russian military might, calling it an example of “Cold War context.”
“The United States is quickly moving towards surpassing Russia as a defense exporter to India,” Mr. Rhodes said. “So that balance has shifted over years. India obviously has a longstanding defense relationship with Russia, but our relationship is on the upswing. We’re very confident in the increasing defense ties, even though we recognize there’s a longstanding and legacy relationship with Russia.”
Mr. Obama sat with the prime minister at the parade for more than two hours in a cold rain, with attendants holding umbrellas over the leaders on the viewing stand.