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Home / India News / The many firsts for 2020 Republic Day parade

The many firsts for 2020 Republic Day parade

From choppers in tri-service formation to Jammu and Kashmir’s tableau as Union Territories, India’s 71st Republic Day celebration had many firsts to it.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2020 04:59 IST
Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Army's T-90 tanks followed by Ballway machine Pikate (BMP-II) (Sarath) tanks march down Rajpath during the 71st Republic Day parade in New Delhi, on Sunday, January 26, 2020.
Army's T-90 tanks followed by Ballway machine Pikate (BMP-II) (Sarath) tanks march down Rajpath during the 71st Republic Day parade in New Delhi, on Sunday, January 26, 2020.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

This year’s Republic Day parade had many firsts to it. A look at some of the debuts this time.

Wreath-laying at National War Memorial

For the first time on Republic Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid a wreath at the National War Memorial. Until last year, tributes were paid to martyrs at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate. The PM inaugurated the memorial on February 25, 2019. After the PM laid the wreath, the guard commander gave ‘salami shastra’ (present arms) and ‘shok shastra’ (reverse arms). This was followed by the buglers sounding the Last Post and a two-minute silence in honour of the martyrs

Attended by the Chief of Defence Staff

General Bipin Rawat attended the parade for the first time as Chief of Defence Staff. He was appointed to the top position on December 31. As CDS, Rawat heads the department of military affairs (DMA) in the defence ministry and is the principal military adviser to the defence minister on all matters related to the tri-services. The DMA is an addition to the four existing verticals in the ministry — the departments of defence, defence production, defence research and development and ex-service welfare

Choppers in tri-service formation

The main fly-past began with three advanced light helicopters from the Army, Navy and the Air Force. It was the first time that a “tri-service formation” took part in the parade. A defence ministry handout said it depicted jointmanship and synergy among the three services, “which is the essence of today’s modern day warfare.” The formation flew at a speed of 180kmph

Anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) showcased its anti-satellite weapon for the first time. Mission Shakti was conducted last March when the 19-tonne A-SAT missile struck a Microsat-R satellite orbiting 283km above the earth with pinpoint accuracy, propelling India into an elite space club consisting of the US, Russia and China. The missile could have killed a satellite at a height of 1,000km but India intentionally chose to demonstrate the capability in a low earth orbit to avoid the threat of collisions in space due to the debris

New marching contingent

The marching contingent of the Corps of Army Air Defence made its debut. The contingent was led by Captain Vikas Kumar Sahu. The President had awarded ‘colours’ to the Corps of Army Air Defence last September in recognition of its distinguished service to the country. Its regimental motto is ‘Akashe Shatrun Jahi’ or ‘Kill the Enemy in the Sky’

Apache attack helicopters

The Indian Air Force’s American-made AH-64E Apache attack helicopters appeared in the Republic Day fly-past for the first time. Five Apaches were among the 45 aircraft that took part in the display. India inked a deal with the US defence giant Boeing in September 2015 for 22 Apaches to modernise the IAF’s assault capabilities to counter ground-based armoured targets and aerial threat. The IAF has already inducted eight Apaches into its fleet at the Pathankot airbase

Chinook heavy-lift helicopters

Three CH-47F (I) Chinook heavy-lift helicopters were part of the fly-past on Sunday as the choppers made their parade debut. India ordered 15 Chinooks from the United States in September 2015. The Chinooks have filled a crucial gap in the air force’s heavy-lift capabilities. The choppers can carry 55 troops or 10 tonnes of freight. The Chinook’s main roles include transporting troops, artillery and battlefield resupply

Jammu and Kashmir as UT

Jammu and Kashmir took part in the parade for the first time as a Union Territory. Its tableau was based on the theme ‘Back to Village.’ Last August, the government revoked the special status of the state by scraping Article 370 of the Constitution and also bifurcated J&K into two Union Territories – J&K and Ladakh. The ‘Back to Village’ initiative seeks to take governance and development to rural and inaccessible areas of the region