Abu Dhabi: A contingent of the UAE Armed Forces will become the first Arab soldiers to join the military parade on Indian Republic Day on January 26, a diplomat said on Tuesday.

The contingent from the UAE Armed Forces will march in New Delhi along with the Indian forces when His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, attends the Republic Day celebrations as the chief guest.

Shaikh Mohammad will be the most prominent Arab leader in recent years to be invited as the chief guest on this important occasion, after late Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz in 2006.

Navdeep Singh Suri, Indian ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News: “A contingent of the UAE air force will be taking part in the march past during the Republic Day parade. Both Shaikh Mohammad and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will witness the UAE contingent marching in step with their Indian counterparts. I believe this has great symbolic significance in terms of not just the depth of our bilateral relations, but also our growing defence cooperation,” Suri said.

UAE and Indian officials are expected to engage in strategic dialogue during Shaikh Mohammad’s visit.

The first state visit by Modi to the UAE in August 2015 and Shaikh Mohammad’s visit to India in February last year had elevated the friendly relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

UAE officials were not immediately available for comments on Tuesday.

The two countries set up the UAE-India Infrastructure Investment Fund with a target of $75 billion (Dh275 billion) during Modi’s UAE visit.