The Indian government on Sunday celebrated the 71st Republic Day amid tight and adequate security measures.
The main function was organised at Rajpath in New Delhi, the national capital, where India’s military might and cultural diversity was fully displayed.
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind unfurled the Indian national flag, following which the national anthem was played. In accordance with the tradition, a booming 21-gun salute was also presented to mark the beginning of the parade, N.Rs learnt
The Republic Day ceremony started with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the National War Memorial, where he paid tributes to the Indian soldiers who died fighting for the country.
Kovind saluted the parade and flypast. The military contingents, police and paramilitary marched past the podium, with colourful cultural performances being showcased during the parade.
“A spectacular parade of forces and a majestic flypast by military today marked the 71st Republic Day,” an official said, adding that the parade had showed the country’s military prowess, state-of-the-art defence platforms, and diverse culture.
Indian army’s battle tank Bhishma, infantry combat vehicle Ballway Machine Pikate and the air force’s new Rafale fighter jet, Chinook and Apache helicopters were the main highlights during the parade. For the first time, Anti-Satellite Weapons (ASAT) from Mission Shakti and the Dhanush artillery were at display.
A contingent of paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) women bikers, 21 of them on five motorcycles, performed daredevil stunts during the parade.
According to the officials, over 20,000 security personnel from police and paramilitary were deployed in Delhi to ensure that no untoward incident takes place. Authorities also installed CCTV cameras and face-recognition cameras at Rajpath as part of the security.
The telecast of the parade and cultural pageant along with commentary in Hindi and English was available on the state-run television Doordarshan News. The state-run broadcaster All India Radio also broadcast the running commentary of the event for listeners.
Several VIPs and foreign dignitaries attended the event. President of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro was the chief guest at the parade.
The parade started from Vijay Chowk and proceeded towards the Red Fort grounds.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to twitter to greet people on Republic Day.