For the first time, the Republic Day was celebrated on Monday without the presence of the Prime Minister who traditionally has laid a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti and received the President at the saluting base.
When the nation celebrated the 60th Republic Day on Monday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was recuperating from a coronary bypass surgery at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
In his absence, Defence Minister A K Antony performed all the customary duties of the Prime Minister during the celebration at the Rajpath.
Minutes before the parade began, Antony and chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force laid wreaths at 'Amar Jawan Jyoti', at India Gate, the British-era World War-I monument, where an eternal flame burns in memory of those who laid down their lives defending the nation's frontiers.
Traditionally, the Prime Minister goes to Amar Jawan Jyoti before the start of Republic Day parade to place a wreath.
Antony also received President Pratibha Patil at the parade instead of the Prime Minister.
A bypass surgery was conducted on the Prime Minister on Saturday last.