China is set to hold one of its biggest military parades on 3 September to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, and as many as 30 heads of state, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, will attend the event.
Around 12,000 military troops from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) and 1,000 from other nations will participate in the Victory Day Parade, which will be held at Tian'anmen Square next week.
India at V-Day Parade
While military troops from 17 countries, including Pakistan, will join the parade next week, Indian troops are expected to stay away.
Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen. (Retd) VK Singh will attend the V-Day parade, which is again a lower level of representation as compared to other nations.
The decision to not send Indian troops is reportedly in accordance with the presence of Pakistani troops at the parade.
Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain is likely to be part of the event.
Who will Attend?
Among the important guests who will be present at the military parade are Putin, South Korea President Park Geun-hye, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The other heads of states include Myanmar President Thein Sein, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Other representatives include North Korean official Choe Ryong-hae and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, who had famously given an apology in 1995 for Japan's aggression during WWII, will be attending.
Among the nations that will send troops to China are Russia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Belarus, Cuba, Mexico, Mongolia, Egypt, Serbia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Who will not?
Among the top national leaders who will be absent at the V-Day parade are the United States, Britain and France, Xinhua news agency reported. Many of these Western nations were, in fact, allies of China during its fight against Japan in the Second World War.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also likely to skip the event.
"We have invited leaders of relevant countries to join the Chinese people to celebrate this great day. But it is their own decision. For us, we respect and welcome all guests," Zhang Ming, vice minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was quoted saying by the news agency.
Politics of China's V-Day Parade
One of the biggest talking points is the absence of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from the list.
Given that Japan shares frayed relations with China due to territorial disputes over contested islands, and the fact that China's WWII events are likely to address the Japanese aggression, Abe's absence has a strong political overtone.
China has reportedly chosen to call the parade the 'Victory Day Parade' or the V-Day parade to highlight China's victory over Japan at the end of WWII.
However, it is not just Japan that China seems to be flashing off its muscles at. By bagging the South Korean President's name on the list, China is also seemingly sending a strong message to the United States.
An article in China's state-run daily Global Times reads as: "S. Korean president to attend China's military parade in apparent snub to Washington," and goes on to cite reports about Washington's request to Park to stay away from Beijing.
The US and South Korea have maintained a strong alliance, especially in the face of North Korea's aggression, and reports had suggested that Park's presence at China's parade will send a signal of weakening relations.
There is also much to do with politics for the reasons behind India's refusal to send troops to the V-Day parade and to only send VK Singh instead of a higher dignitary, and much of it has to do with China's overtures to Pakistan.
Given that India also shares strong relations with Japan, the Chinese invite put Indian officials in a tricky spot, as per reports.
In fact, New Delhi rejected the Chinese request to have President Pranab Mukherjee attend the military parade, as he did in Russia earlier this year, The Daily Mail reported.
What will be on display at the parade?
China's military parade is likely to be seen by neighbouring nations as well as economic rivals as an attempt to 'flex muscles', given that China will put on display several of its missiles, tankers and fighter jets.
China will showcase its ballistic missiles, with some said to have the capacity to reach the United States base in Guam, its J-15 aircraft carrier-based fighter jet, a long-range bomber, and even nuclear missiles, according to Reuters.
Preparations at Tian'anmen Square
Arrangements at the Tian'anmen Square have been completed ahead of the Victory Day parade, the state news agency Xinhua reported.
The venue will feature two floral decorations shaped as the Great Wall of China, the report said.
The arrangements are expected to remain till 1 October, when China celebrates its National Day.
WHERE TO WATCH V-DAY PARADE LIVE