The national capital’s main promenade, Rajpath, came alive on Sunday with soldiers from multiple military contingents marching to the beats of brass bands, colourful tableaux highlighting the country’s rich diversity, and battle tanks, state-of-the-art fighter aircrafts and advanced missile systems turning heads at the 71st Republic Day parade as President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief guest Brazil President Jair Bolosonaro and other leaders looked on.
The occasion marks the day when India’s Constitution came into effect, and the country became a republic.
The ceremony commenced with PM Modi paying homage to the fallen soldiers at the newly-built National War Memorial for the first time instead of the Amar Jawan Jyoti beneath the India Gate arch. Modi, wearing traditional kurta-pajama and a jacket, sported a saffron turban on the occasion. This was followed by President Ram Nath Kovind unfurling the tricolour accompanied with a 21-gun salute as the band played the national anthem.
Several Cabinet minister of the Modi government, including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar were present on the occasion along with former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and Deve Gowda, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Out of the total 22 tableaux, 16 were of various states and UTs and six of ministries, departments and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). Goa’s ‘save the frog’ campaign, Jammu and Kashmir’s ‘back to village’ programme, architectural wonders and UNESCO world heritage sites in Jaipur and Gujarat and 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev were thematically showcased among the host of tableaux.
Jammu and Kashmir, which participated in the parade for the first time as a Union Territory, had the “Back to Village” programme as theme for its tableau.
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On the other hand, Jaipur, which was accorded the UNESCO World Heritage tag in 2019, was the overriding theme of the Rajasthan tableau. It depicted the Pink City’s architectural grandeur and the state’s vibrant culture reflected in its folk songs and dances.
Punjab’s tableau showcased the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in 2019. Sikhism, on the other hand, displayed its architectural and cultural heritage with messages ‘Kirat Karo’, ‘Naam Japo’ and ‘Vand Chhako’.
Gujarat’s architectural wonder Rani Ki Vav was the centrepiece of the state’s tableau, complemented with folk culture and dances performed by artistes.
Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka also took part in the Parade.
Also, heavylift helicopter Chinook and attack helicopter Apache, which were recently inducted in the Indian Air Force, also took part in the Republic Day flypast for the first time on Sunday. The Chinooks can airlift diverse loads in remote locations. It is a heavy lift, twin rotor helicopter which has enhanced IAF’s lift capability across a range of military and HADR missions.
The ‘Dhanush’ gun system was also displayed at the Republic Day parade for the first time. Commanded by Capt. Mrigank Bharadwaj, the 155mm/45 Caliber Dhanush gun system is a towed Howitzer designed indigenously by the Ordnance Factory Board.
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