Indian Air Force's fighter jets during the Republic Day parade, at Rajpath, in New Delhi(Ajay Aggarwal/Hindustan Times)
Indian Air Force's fighter jets during the Republic Day parade, at Rajpath, in New Delhi(Ajay Aggarwal/Hindustan Times)

At Rajpath, many firsts in the shadow of a pandemic

  • India put on display its war machines at a time when the country is locked in a tense border stand-off with China.
By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 01:05 AM IST

e participation of a woman fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF)’s tableau, and the appearance of Rafale fighter jets were among several significant firsts in the 72nd Republic Day celebrations on Tuesday as the country showcased its military might and exhibited its cultural hues at festivities held under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Capital.


From T-90 tanks and BMP-II infantry combat vehicles rumbling down Rajpath to fighter jets performing some breathtaking manoeuvres in the skies, to indigenous rockets and missiles, India put on display its war machines at a time when the country is locked in a tense border stand-off with China.


Besides, 17 tableaus from states and Union Territories (UT) depicted the cultural heritage of the country in curtailed celebrations organised in adherence to strict safety protocols and social distancing norms in view of the pandemic. The tableau of Uttar Pradesh showcased the heritage of the ancient town of Ayodhya, and the replica of the Ram temple that is being built there, as well as stories from the epic Ramayana. The Delhi tableau had an image of the Red Fort and the redevelopment of Shahjahanabad in the Old City.

Another highlight was a 122-member contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces that took part in the march at Rajpath as part of the celebrations linked to 50 years of that country’s liberation. Also, the tableau of UT Ladakh made its first appearance this year. There was no chief guest at the Republic Day parade this time — a first since 1966. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was to be the chief guest, cancelled his visit to India owing to rising Covid cases in his country.

While nine tableaus from different Union ministries and paramilitary forces took part in the Rajpath parade, six from the defence ministry, too, attended the event. Rafales, Sukhoi-30s and MiG-29s — fighters that are part of the IAF’s muscular posture in the Ladakh theatre — were among the 42 aircraft in the fly-past, a key attraction. The Rafale jets took part in the parade for the first time.

Other military equipment displayed included the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, Pinaka multi-launcher rocket system, bridge layer tank T-72, Samvijay electronic warfare system and Schilka weapon system.


The IAF tableau featured one of India’s first women fighter pilots — another first in the high-profile event. Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth was part of the tableau that showcased mock-ups of the light combat aircraft, light combat helicopter and the Sukhoi-30. Also, among those who flew the Mi-17 V5 choppers that showered petals at the parade was Flight Lieutenant Swati.

This year, the parade was shorter and involved fewer participants because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The shortened route of the parade meant it ended at National Stadium, instead of Red Fort. Only a fourth of the usual number of spectators were allowed at Rajpath — not more than 25,000 spectators, compared to over 100,000 people who usually turn up for the parade. Children below the age of 15 and those above 65 were not allowed among the visitors at the venue.

Before the parade began, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to India’s fallen heroes by placing a wreath at the National War Memorial at India Gate. Defence minister Rajnath Singh, chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat, army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh were present at the memorial.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and several cabinet ministers were among the dignitaries who witnessed the parade.

The parade was led by Lieutenant General Vijay Kumar Mishra, general officer commanding, HQs Delhi Area. The march past included Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra awardees (India’s highest wartime and peacetime gallantry awards, respectively), an army mounted column of 61 Cavalry, and marching contingents of the Jat Regiment, the Garhwal Rifles, the Mahar Regiment, the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles and Bengal Sappers.

The Indian Navy’s tableau depicted the navy’s role in the 1971 war with Pakistan that led to the creation of Bangladesh. Photos of Maha Vir Chakra awardees were displayed on the rear part of the trailer, while the sides showed murals depicting the surrender ceremony.

The fly-past featured a vintage Dakota aircraft — used for dropping paratroopers during the 1971 war — that flew in formation with two Mi-17 V5 helicopters, marking the golden jubilee celebrations.

The IAF’s C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, C-130J Super Hercules special operations plane, Apache AH-64E attack helicopters and CH-47F (I) Chinook multi-mission choppers, too, took part in the fly-past.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics

Related Stories

"Let me wish everyone in India, as well as those celebrating here in Britain, a very Happy Republic Day," PM Johnson said.(Screenshot. Twitter/@UKinIndia)
"Let me wish everyone in India, as well as those celebrating here in Britain, a very Happy Republic Day," PM Johnson said.(Screenshot. Twitter/@UKinIndia)

Macron, Johnson and Morrison send video messages on Republic Day

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 27, 2021 12:02 AM IST
  • Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in a letter sent to her Indian counterpart, conveyed her greetings.
HT Image
HT Image

Government employees felicitated for Covid-19 duties at Republic Day celebrations in Gurugram

By HT Correspondent, Gurugram
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 11:06 PM IST
Government employees, who actively performed their duties during the Covid-19 outbreak last year, were felicitated during the 72nd Republic Day ceremonies at Tau Devi Lal Stadium on Tuesday
Satyaram Reang. (HT Photo)
Satyaram Reang. (HT Photo)

Republic Day: Tripura’s Satyaram Reang gets Padma Shri award

By Priyanka Deb Barman
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 05:22 PM IST
A Hojagiri dancer, Reang, 78, has been instrumental in the promotion and preservation of the dance performed by standing on an earthen pitcher
In Beijing, Ambassador Vikram Misriread out President Ram Nath Kovind's address to the nation. (Photo Courtesy: Indian embassy in China)
In Beijing, Ambassador Vikram Misriread out President Ram Nath Kovind's address to the nation. (Photo Courtesy: Indian embassy in China)

Indians abroad celebrate Republic Day amidst Covid-19 pandemic

PTI, Beijing, Singapore
PUBLISHED ON JAN 26, 2021 04:14 PM IST
  • In Beijing, Ambassador Vikram Misri unfurled the national flag at the Indian embassy. The Indian High Commission in Islamabad in a tweet said it celebrated the Republic Day with great enthusiasm. The Indian High Commission in Dhaka too celebrated Republic Day with members of the Indian community.
Close
Kejriwal, whose party had scored a zero in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, was visiting Gujarat for the first time in seven years.(PTI)
Kejriwal, whose party had scored a zero in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, was visiting Gujarat for the first time in seven years.(PTI)

In Surat, Delhi CM Kejriwal hails AAP’s poll performance

By Darshan Desai, Ahmedabad
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:17 AM IST
In the recently concluded civic body polls, the AAP won 27 of 120 seats in the Surat Municipal Corporation in its debut appearance, thereby emerging the main opposition party against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won 93 seats.
Close
On Friday, Azad arrived in Jammu on a three-day visit and was received by party workers.(ANI file photo)
On Friday, Azad arrived in Jammu on a three-day visit and was received by party workers.(ANI file photo)

23 Cong letter writers plan drive to ‘save idea of India’

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi, Jammu
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 03:58 AM IST
The series of rallies and public meetings will kick off on Saturday in Jammu, where former Rajya Sabha member of Parliament Ghulam Nabi Azad, one of the 23, has invited his colleagues.
Close
External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said there were selective leaks of the opinion of WGAD on Michel’s case.(Reuters )
External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said there were selective leaks of the opinion of WGAD on Michel’s case.(Reuters )

India rejects United Nations panel report on Christian Michel

By Rezaul H Laskar, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 03:55 AM IST
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), which operates under the UN high commissioner for human rights, said that Michel, who has been held in India since December 2018 after being extradited from United Arab Emirates, should be immediately released, according to conclusions reported by AFP.
Close
“We cannot allow sexual harassment complaints to be brushed under the carpet this way,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde said.
“We cannot allow sexual harassment complaints to be brushed under the carpet this way,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde said.

Can’t ignore complaints of sexual harassment: Supreme Court

By Abraham Thomas, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:51 AM IST
In her complaint in March 2018, the female judicial officer had accused the former principal district judge of Sheopur of sending lewd messages on WhatsApp.
Close
The bench emphasised that when the career and reputation of a spouse were severely damaged because of the conduct of the other partner, it could not be expected of the former to reconcile and agree to live together again.
The bench emphasised that when the career and reputation of a spouse were severely damaged because of the conduct of the other partner, it could not be expected of the former to reconcile and agree to live together again.

Harming reputation ground for divorce, says Supreme Court

By Utkarsh Anand, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:48 AM IST
An SC bench, headed by justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, held that such demeanour by a wife will certainly amount to inflicting cruelty on the man, and will be grounds for divorce under marital laws.
Close
To be sure, the Indian economy will still face its largest ever contraction in the current fiscal year.(AP file photo. Representative image)
To be sure, the Indian economy will still face its largest ever contraction in the current fiscal year.(AP file photo. Representative image)

India out of recession as GDP expands 0.4% in Q3

By Roshan Kishore, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:43 AM IST
India’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 0.4% on a year-on-year basis in the quarter ending December 2020, according to data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) on February 26.
Close
Jaishankar added that once disengagement is completed at all friction points, the two sides “could look at broader de-escalation of troops in the area”.(HT_PRINT)
Jaishankar added that once disengagement is completed at all friction points, the two sides “could look at broader de-escalation of troops in the area”.(HT_PRINT)

‘Peace on LAC must to mend ties’: Jaishankar tells Chinese counterpart

By Sutirtho Patranobis, Shishir Gupta, Rezaul H Laskar, Beijing, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:39 AM IST
EAM Jaishankar’s blunt message was conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during a 75-minute phone conversation on Thursday — the first formal contact between the two ministers since they met on the margins of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Moscow last September.
Close
According to experts, the liquor business in Delhi is shrouded in opacity and controlled by a handful of individuals or groups.(File photo. Representative image)
According to experts, the liquor business in Delhi is shrouded in opacity and controlled by a handful of individuals or groups.(File photo. Representative image)

Business of liquor needs a major detox

By Abhishek Dey, Sweta Goswami
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:31 AM IST
In 2019-20, the city government pegged its revenue from the liquor business at 5,500 crore -- roughly 11% of its total revenue of 51,000 crore. Among major states, an HT analysis showed only in Karnataka and Telangana, liquor revenue formed a bigger percentage of the state’s revenue.
Close
Earlier in the state assembly, Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami announced waiving gold loans up to six sovereigns taken from cooperative banks by the poor and farmers.
Earlier in the state assembly, Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami announced waiving gold loans up to six sovereigns taken from cooperative banks by the poor and farmers.

Sops galore hours before poll schedule out

By Divya Chandrababu, Chennai, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:10 AM IST
Most number of sops came from Tamil Nadu chief minister E Palaniswami, who is trying to beat 10 years of incumbency. The state assembly unanimously passed a bill providing 10.5% reservation for influential Vanniyar community within the existing quota of 20% for the Most Backward Classes (MBC).
Close
Arora said the nationwide vaccination drive made the situation more conducive to conduct elections.(PTI )
Arora said the nationwide vaccination drive made the situation more conducive to conduct elections.(PTI )

Crucial election cycle in 5 states to start on March 27

By Deeksha Bhardwaj, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 01:39 AM IST
Votes in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will be counted on May 2, said chief election commissioner Sunil Arora. All Covid-19 election guidelines, including limiting the number of electors, regulating physical campaigning and road shows and sanitising booths and personnel, will be in place, he added.
Close
The states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam account for 13% out of the 543 seats in Lok Sabha.(File photo. Representative image)
The states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam account for 13% out of the 543 seats in Lok Sabha.(File photo. Representative image)

Five charts that explain the upcoming elections

By Abhishek Jha, Roshan Kishore
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 01:22 AM IST
Three out of the four states going to polls; Assam, West Bengal and Kerala are also the top three states by share of Muslims in the population. With 26.7% Muslims and 16.6% Christians, Kerala has the lowest share of Hindus -- to be sure, they are still a majority – among India’s important states.
Close
Referring to some of the new acquisitions, experts said IAF’s fighter, helicopter and transport fleets played a crucial during the Ladakh standoff that began last May.(PTI file photo)
Referring to some of the new acquisitions, experts said IAF’s fighter, helicopter and transport fleets played a crucial during the Ladakh standoff that began last May.(PTI file photo)

IAF adds muscle to firepower in 2 yrs since Balakot

By Rahul Singh, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 01:06 AM IST
Indian Air Force's (IAF’s) Mirage-2000s struck targets in Balakot in response to the Pakistan-backed Pulwama suicide attack in Kashmir in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed on February 14.
Close
Celeste goes on to add how, in a meeting with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif shortly after this, Clinton asked him to “withdraw troops” from Kargil.(ANI file photo. Representative image)
Celeste goes on to add how, in a meeting with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif shortly after this, Clinton asked him to “withdraw troops” from Kargil.(ANI file photo. Representative image)

When Pakistan failed to get support during Kargil

By Sunetra Choudhury, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 12:54 AM IST
In a new book, Life in American Politics & Diplomatic Years in India published by Har-Anand Publications, Richard Celeste, the US ambassador to India between 1997 and 2001, reports a visit he received from Pakistan’s Ambassador to India, Ashraf Qazi.
Close
The court further asked Kaur to maintain restraint while on bail to ensure that no law and order issue arises due to her actions.
The court further asked Kaur to maintain restraint while on bail to ensure that no law and order issue arises due to her actions.

‘Did not break any law’: Nodeep Kaur after HC grants bail

By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh/karnal
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 12:39 AM IST
Addressing mediapersons, Kaur said, “I did not break any law and cannot think of doing so in future. But I raise voice against exploitation of labourers and farmers by the big corporate houses. Such influential people cannot tolerate this and try to suppress their voice.”
Close
Wildlife activist Sangeeta Dogra said in her petition that villagers arranged a felicitation function for the shooter, a professional hunter, on November 14, 2018.(HT file photo. Representative image)
Wildlife activist Sangeeta Dogra said in her petition that villagers arranged a felicitation function for the shooter, a professional hunter, on November 14, 2018.(HT file photo. Representative image)

SC rejects contempt plea, says tigress Avni killed in accordance with order

By Abraham Thomas, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 12:19 AM IST
The Court issued notices to Maharashtra principal secretary Vikas Kharge, principal chief conservator forests (Nagpur), deputy conservator forests (Nagpur), deputy conservator forests (Pandharkawada) and member secretary, NTCA, on February 10 on a petition filed by a wildlife activist Sangeeta Dogra.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP