On India’s 71st Republic Day, military might, cultural heritage to be on display at Rajpath
Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro will be the chief guest at the 90-minute celebrations marking the anniversary of the day when India was declared a republic in 1950.Updated: Jan 26, 2020 13:22 IST
India will put its rising military might, cultural diversity and progress in the socio-economic field for the world to see as it marks the 71st Republic Day at Delhi’s Rajpath on Sunday.
Thousands of security personnel, facial recognition system, drones and CCTV cameras have been deployed as part of the ground-to-air security cover as Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro will witness the 90-minute celebrations as the chief guest.
The Republic Day parade ceremony will begin with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the National War Memorial, built in the memory of the soldiers killed in action since Independence, near India Gate. Modi will lead the nation in paying tributes to the martyrs by laying a wreath.
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This is for the first time that the Prime Minister will pay homage to martyrs at the National War memorial instead of Amar Jawan Jyoti underneath the India Gate arch to commemorate soldiers martyred in the India-Pakistan war of 1971.
Modi and other dignitaries will head to the saluting dais at Rajpath to witness the parade. As per tradition, the national flag will be unfurled followed by the National Anthem with a booming 21-gun salute.
The parade will begin with President Ram Nath Kovind taking the salute.
Indian Army’s battle tank Bhishma, anti-satellite weapon Mission Shakti, infantry combat vehicles and newly-inducted Chinook and Apache helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) will be part of the grand military parade.
Twenty-two tableaux – 16 from states and Union territories and six from various ministries and departments – depicting the nation’s rich cultural heritage and economic progress will also roll down the Rajpath.
School children will convey the age-old message of yoga and spiritual values through dance and music during the parade.
Marching contingents, tanks
The Republic Day parade will be commanded by parade commander Lt General Asit Mistry, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area. Major General Alok Kacker, Chief of Staff of Delhi Area, will be the second-in-command.
The first contingent in the uniform of the erstwhile Gwalior Lancers will be 61 Cavalry – the only active serving horse cavalry regiment in the world. It was raised on August 1, 1953, with the amalgamation of six state forces’ cavalry units.
The Indian Army will be represented by a mounted column of 61 Cavalry, eight mechanised columns, six marching contingents and fly-past by Rudra and Dhruv Advanced Light helicopters of its aviation wing.
The other marching contingents of the army will include the Parachute regiment, the Grenadiers regiment, the Sikh Light Infantry regiment, the Kumaon regiment and the Corps of Signals.
Indigenously-developed Main Battle Tank of the Indian Army, T-90 Bhishma tank, infantry combat vehicle Ballway Machine Pikate, K-9 Vajra and Dhanush guns, transportable satellite terminal and Akash weapon system will be the main attraction in the mechanised columns.
The contingent of the Indian Navy will comprise of 144 sailors led by Lieutenant Jitin Malkat. It will be followed by the naval tableau – ‘Indian Navy - Silent, Strong, and Swift’.
The IAF contingent, comprising 144 air warriors, will be led by Flight Lt Shrikant Sharma. The air force tableau will showcase scaled-down models of the Rafale and Tejas aircraft, the Light Combat helicopter, the Akash missiles system and the Astra missiles.
Mission Shakti, women bikers
One of the main highlights will be the marching contingent of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that will showcase Anti-Satellite Weapons (ASAT) - Mission Shakti.
Mission Shakti, India’s first anti-satellite mission, was a major breakthrough in demonstrating the nation’s capability to bring down hostile satellites.
Sixteen tableaux from various states and Union territories will depict the geographical and rich cultural diversity of the country.
Several reforms of the government, including Start-up India and Jal Jeevan Mission, will be showcased in six tableaux from different ministries and departments.
A contingent of women bikers of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will perform daredevil stunts for the first time. Inspector Seema Nag will be leading the contingent and seen saluting while standing on top of a moving motorcycle.
The fly-past – the grand finale and the most keenly awaited segment of the parade – will comprise of the ‘Trishul’ formation by three advanced light helicopters.
This Republic Day parade will also have a “tri-service formation” for the first time. It will be followed by the ‘Vic’ formation of Chinook helicopters, used for airlifting diverse loads to remote locations.
Apache helicopters, Dornier aircraft, C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, an Airborne Early Warning and Control System aircraft and the “globe formation” comprising three C-17 Globemasters are also expected to enthral the people.
Five Jaguar Deep penetration strike aircraft and five MiG-29 upgrade air superiority fighters in ‘Arrowhead’ formation will also display their aerial manoeuvre.
A fleet of Sukhoi-30 MKI jets splitting the sky with a breathtaking ‘Vertical Charlie’ aerobatic manoeuvre will be last attraction of the Republic Day parade.
(With PTI inputs)