Updated: January 24, 2021 8:45:48 am
Several changes will be seen in the Republic Day parade this time — from removal of motorcycle stunts to the inclusion of the tableau of the Union Territory of Ladakh for the first time.
The Union Territory of Ladakh was created in 2019 after the BJP government bifurcated Jammu & Kashmir. Ladakh’s tableau will depict the Thikse Monastery, and will comprise five women in an 11-member contingent. “The Ladakh tableau highlights the vision for Ladakh to be carbon-neutral, and exemplary for the world. It also showcases the Indian Astronomical Observatory, located in Hanle near Leh, one of the world’s highest sites for optical, infrared and gamma-ray telescopes,” according to tableaux details shared by officials.
The pandemic has also led to several changes in the way Republic Day celebrations will be held. While gravity-defying stunts by motorcycle-borne men will be missing, the spectator size too has been reduced to 25,000 from around 1.25 lakh last year. The parade of children who receive bravery awards will also be missing. Keeping in mind social distancing, the size of marching contingents has been reduced from 144 to 96.
A total of 32 tableaux — 17 of various states and UTs, nine of ministries and six from the defence arm — will be seen going down Rajpath this year. They will stop at National Stadium instead of following the regular route to the Red Fort. The Uttar Pradesh tableau will feature a replica of the Ram Temple being built in Ayodhya, among other things. Among the departments, the Department of Biotechnology will showcase pre-trial and post-trial phases of the manufacturing of the Covid vaccine in India.
For the first time in 55 years, there will also be no chief guest at this year’s parade, after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed “regret” that he would not be able to visit India.
All members of the tableaux contingents from various states, ministries and government departments have undergone Covid testing.
The contingent of 61 Cavalry will be led by a horse that has attended the parade for the last 18 years. The horse is 21 years old, a year older than when the animal usually retires.The contingent from Bangladesh will mark the third instance of a military contingent from a friendly foreign nation participating in the parade — the first was France in 2016, and then UAE in 2017.
Ninety per cent of the Territorial Army’s contingent comprises people from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, who are coming to the mainland for the first time.
(with PTI inputs)
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