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Sidelights: India celebrates 70th Independence Day with patriotic fervor

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today unfurled the national flag at the historic Red Fort on the occasion of 70th Independence Day amid loud cheers from the public. Here are the sidelights of the ceremony held
PTI New Delhi August 15, 2016 14:19 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today unfurled the national flag at the historic Red Fort on the occasion of 70th Independence Day amid loud cheers from the public.

Here are the sidelights of the ceremony held at the 17th century Mughal monument: 

As soon as the Prime Minister's motorcade arrived at the venue at 7:23 AM, thousands of people from the general public and school children rose to get a glimpse of their leader with a thunderous applause. Modi got down from his armoured car and waved at the crowd. 

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Minister of State for Defence Rao Subhash Ramrao Bhamre along with Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar received Modi as he arrived at the Lahore Gate. 

The Prime Minister, accompanied by the General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area then proceeded towards the saluting base where combined Inter-Services and Police Guards presented general salute to the Prime Minister. 

He then inspected the guard of honour contingent which consisted of one officer and 24 men each from Army, Navy, Air Force and Delhi Police. The Army contingent for the Guard is drawn from the 8th Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (Siachen). 

The battalion was raised as the First Battalion Border Scouts by volunteers who took up arms in the aftermath of partition to check the multitude of Kabailies intruding into Poonch on 18 December 1947. 

The PM then walked to the ramparts of the Red Fort and unfurled the tricolour at 7:30 AM sharp. 

The unfurling of the tricolour was synchronised with the 21 Gun Salute fired by the valiant gunners of the elite 2281 Field Regiment (Ceremonial). The Air Force Band played National Anthem when the National Guard presented "Rashtriya Salute". 

The Army Contingent for the National Flag Guard is drawn from 11th Battalion of the Jat Regiment. This is a 52-year- old battalion with a gallant past. 

The Prime Minister then addressed the nation making a 90-minute long powerful speech, shunning the bullet-resistant glass enclosure for third year in a row.
People from all walks of life had queued up to 

participate in the event as early as 5:00 AM. Around 10,000 seats were set aside for general public at the venue and they were filled by 7:00 AM. Security personnel had a tough time managing an enthusiastic crowd. 

According to the police, about 40,000 people attended the function. There were seating arrangements for 22,000 people, including 2000 VVIPs and VIPs, 9000 for school children and 10,000 for the general public. 

Throughout the speech, people kept clapping jubilantly and the public responded to every pause with a loud cheer. 

Tricoloured balloons were released after the Prime Minister concluded his speech. 

When Modi's motorcade was leaving the venue, children waved their caps and scarves and greeted him. As last year, the Prime Minister stopped his car and went to meet the children. He shook hands with some of them and greeted them on the occasion. 

Demonstrating their excitement and patriotic zeal, children sang the national anthem with a festive fervour both at the beginning and end of the event. 

Seven hundred boy cadets of the National Cadet Corps drawn from various schools of Delhi Directorate comprising Army, Navy and Air Force wings participated in the flag hoisting ceremony this year. 

The cadets also sang patriotic songs and the national anthem along with the school children. 

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with wife Gursharan Kaur, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely, Union Minister of Food and Public Distribution Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, were some of the VVIPs present for the event. 

The shutterbugs also spotted Kejriwal with his eyes closed during the Prime Minister's address.