To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation of ASEAN, leaders from these ten countries have been invited to attend the Republic Day celebrations this year. This is for the first time that more than one state head has been invited to join the celebrations. Leaders from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei have, “in principle”, accepted they will send their heads of state or government to the event.
Apart from the Indian security forces displaying their might, a range of traditional and cultural programs focusing on the history and culture of the country by different states will also be held today. Folk dances of Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand and other countries will also be performed. A total of 770 students are geared up to take part in the procession at Rajpath in the January 26 event.
The day will also mark the debut of the all-women bikers contingent of the Border Security Force. The 27-member BSF women ‘daredevils’ will showcase their stunts and acrobatics on their 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycles. The BSF will also have its iconic camel contingent along with its marching and band teams to march down the Rajpath.
See in Pictures | A sneak peek at this year’s Republic Day parade
The National Bravery Awards will also be announced on the Republic Day. The awards, given by Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW), honours the bravest children and are divided into five categories – Bharat Award, Geeta Chopra Award, Sanjay Chopra Award, Bapu Gaidhani Award, and General National Bravery Awards.
Apart from the Republic Day Parade, the guests will also attend a Ramayana festival. President Ramnath Kovind will host a banquet on January 25 for the guests, followed by a leaders’ retreat at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
West Bengal tableau rejected
The central government has rejected a tableau from West Bengal for the Republic Day parade. Chief Minister has slammed the Centre and asserted that it was an insult to the people of Bengal. “Every year we select a theme for our tableau. (Earlier) We had selected ‘Chhau Dance’ and ‘Baul Songs’ as themes, which had received the first prize. This year we had selected ‘There is harmony in unity’ as the theme. Was the tableau rejected because of its theme? asked the chief minister.