A glimpse of the Republic Day parade 2020 (PTI)
A glimpse of the Republic Day parade 2020 (PTI)

R-Day 2021: What’s new, what will be missing in Jan 26 parade

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced officials to make significant changes to this year’s Republic Day programme.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Karan Manral
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 10:18 AM IST

Republic Day is almost here and just like every year, the nation is gearing up to display its military might, which will be showcased as part of the annual parade. There will be certain new additions to the parade but this year’s celebrations will be different from those in previous years due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Here’s a list of what will be new and what will be missing from this year’s R-Day parade:

What’s new:

1. The Rafale fighter jets, purchased from France and inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in September last year, will participate in the parade for the first time. The air force has thus far inducted 11 of the 36 Rafale jets ordered from France.

2. The parade will also witness its first participation by a woman fighter pilot. Flight lieutenant Bhawana Kanth, one of India’s first women fighter pilots, will be a part of the IAF’s tableau that will showcase mock-ups of the light combat aircraft (LCA), light combat helicopter (LCH) and the Sukhoi-30 fighters.

Also Read | Bhawana Kanth to take part in R-Day parade, first woman fighter pilot to do so

3. A contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, comprising 122 soldiers, will participate in the parade. France (2016) and the UAE (2017) are the first two foreign countries to have participated in the R-Day march.

4. Uttar Pradesh’s tableau will feature a replica of the Ram Temple, which is currently under construction in the temple town of Ayodhya. The Supreme Court had in November 2019 ended the decades-long land dispute case, paving the way for the construction of the temple.

Also Read | Ayodhya, upcoming Ram Temple in Uttar Pradesh’s tableau for Republic Day

What’s missing/curtailed:

1. This will be the first R-Day parade without a chief guest in more than five decades with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson not coming to India. Johnson, who had initially accepted India’s invitation, had to cancel his visit due to the rapid rise of Covid-19 cases in the United Kingdom. India didn’t have a chief guest for the parade in 1952, 1953 and 1966 before this.

Also Read | No chief guest this R-Day

2. The number of spectators has been reduced to 25,000 from 150,000 allowed last year. The number of media persons, too, has been cut from 300 to 200.

3. The parade, unlike previous years, will go only till the National Stadium at the C-Hexagon of India Gate. Only the tableaux will go to the Red Fort.

4. The events that have been cancelled altogether include the veterans’ parade by ex-servicemen and women, as well as motorcycle stunts by troops of the army and the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel.

5. No children below the age of 15 will be allowed at the India Gate lawns. Also, there will be no enclosure for schoolchildren this year.

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