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Republic Day parade: Gandhi, Buddhism dominant themes as India celebrates ASEAN ties

A total of twenty three tableaux representing various states, ministries, All India Radio (AIR) among others were showcased during the Republic Day parade.

india Updated: Jan 26, 2018 17:54 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Republic Day,Republic Day parade,69th Republic Day
Himachal Pradesh tableaux passes through the saluting base at Rajpath during the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2018. (Ajay Aggarwal/HT File photo)

Gandhi and Buddhism were the dominant themes of tableaux at the 69th Republic Day celebrations at the majestic Rajpath in the national capital on Friday.

Unprecedented in India’s history, leaders of all 10 ASEAN countries attended the Republic Day parade which showcased the country’s military prowess and rich cultural diversity.

Twenty three tableaux, including those representing various states, ministries, All India Radio (AIR) among others rolled down the Rajpath.

States registering their presence this year were Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Tripura, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Chhatisgarh, Kerala, Punjab and Manipur.

The ministries whose tableaux rolled down the Rajpath were external affairs, tribal affairs, youth affairs and sports.

The Income Tax department showcased its anti-black money drive launched post demonetisation.

The armed forces tableaux were part of the colourful floats.

The Indian Navy’s tableau showcased the theme ‘Indian Navy - Combat Ready Force for National Security’. The force also showcased its Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant, which will be commissioned in 2020, while the Defence Development and Research Organisation (DRDO) exhibited the ‘Nirbhay’ missile and the Ashwini radar system.

The Indian Air Force tableau, led by three women officers, was themed ‘Indian Air Force Encouraging Indigenisation’ which displayed models of the Tejas Multi-role Fighter Aircraft, Rudra Helicopter, Arudhra Radar and the Akash missile system.

Among the 23 colourful floats were two tableaux, made by the ministry of external affairs, that portrayed historical, civilisational and religious links as the binding force between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.

One of the tableaux depicted Nalanda University, a world-renowned centre for learning and Buddhist studies in ancient times.

The second tableaux portrayed the Mahabodhi Temple and Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment.

Himachal Pradesh’s tableau showed status of Buddha in meditation along with some stupas and the monks resting there.

Similarly, Madhya Pradesh’s tableau also had an underlying theme of Buddhism, showcasing Buddha sitting in meditation under the Boddhi Tree with four of his disciples.

Leaders sitting in the audience were seen applauding the tableaux of their respective states.

For the first time, the All India Radio showcased its tableau depicting a historic event when Mahatma Gandhi made his maiden and only broadcast through the public broadcast in the wake of post-partition communal riots.

The Gujarat tableau showed Gandhi weaving on his wooden spinning wheel and ashram inmates busy in daily activities. The tableau also showed Gandhi’s ‘three monkeys’ and various other things or places that were an integral part of Gandhi’s life.

Karnatka’s natural bounty, Tripura’s handicrafts, Uttarakhand’s potential for rural tourism, livelihoods of Jammu and Kashmir’s people, Assam’s mask making craft, Sangat and Mangat- Punjab’s mode of paying obeisance and community social service were showcased through various tableaux.

Leaders of 10 ASEAN countries joined President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Republic Day parade and were seen sharing light moments with each other and capturing the memories in their cameras.

Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, Singaporean Premier Lee Hsien Loong, Brunei’s Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah attended the event.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith and Cambodian Premier Hun Sen also watched the grand parade.

The participation of the ASEAN leaders at the event comes amid China’s growing efforts to expand its influence in the region.

First Published: Jan 26, 2018 17:52 IST