The annual parade at Rajpath marking the celebrations of India's 68th Republic Day saw India display its military might with Tejas fighters and the commandos of the National Security Guard (NSG) making their debut this year.
The main event was organised at the majestic Rajpath in the national capital where President Pranab Mukherjee unfurled the Tricolour. Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi was the Chief Guest during the ceremony.
The parade began at 9.50 this morning from Vijay Chowk and proceeded towards the Red Fort grounds. President Mukherjee took the salute of the parade that saw 15 marching contingents of the Armed forces, Para Military forces and NCC participating in the ceremony.
A major highlight of the parade was 149-member marching contingent from UAE comprising personnel from Presidential Guards, the Air Force, the Navy and Army. They were led by a band comprising 35 musicians from that country.
Al Nahyan, also Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE armed forces, was seated next to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who wore a pink color 'safa' (turban). The two leaders were seen sharing some light moments. Alongside the Crown Prince, the ceremonial parade was watched by Vice President Hamid Ansari, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and the country's top political and military brass, besides the diplomatic community.
For the first time a contingent of the National Security Guard (NSG), popularly known as the Black Cat Commandos, was part of the march past. The parade also saw the fly-past of three LCA Tejas Aircraft flying at a height of 300 metres in 'Vic' formation and the Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) developed by DRDO.
The Indian Army's missile firing capability T-90 'Bhishma' tank, Infantry Combat Vehicle BMP-2K, Mobile Autonomous Launcher of the BrahMos Missile System, Weapon Locating Raddar 'Swathi' and Akash Weapons System and Dhanush Gun System were among the main draw in the mechanised columns.
Tableaux from 17 states and Union Territories and six central ministries and departments showcased the varied historical, art and cultural heritage of the country. Goods and Services Tax (GST) was the theme of the tableau of Central Board of Excise and Customs.
21 of the 25 children who won the National Bravery Award also participated in the parade. Four children have received the award posthumously.
The grand finale of the parade was a spectacular flypast by the Indian Air Force which displayed various formations like 'Chakra' and 'Vic' leaving the spectators spell-bound. The 'Hercules' formation comprising three C-130J Super Hercules aircraft also drew loud cheers.
The theme of IAF tableau was "Air Dominance Through Network Centric Operations" and it displayed the scaled down models of Su-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, AWACS, UAV, Apache and Communication Satellite.
The Indian Navy's tableau showcased the lethal Marine Commandos proceeding for action, the indigenously built Kolkata Class Destroyer and the Kalvari Class next generation attack submarines. It also showcased a model of the P-8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
As per tradition, after unfurling the National Flag, the National Anthem was played followed by a 21 gun salute. The parade was commanded by Lt General Manoj Mukund Naravane, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area. The marching contingents of Army included horse-mounted columns of the 61st Cavalry, the Mechanised Infantry Regiment, the Bihar Regiment, the 39 Gorkha Training Centre, 58 Gorkha Training Centre, the Madras Engineering Group and Centre and 103 Infantry Battalion.
The Navy contingent comprised 144 young sailors and it was led by Lieutenant Aparna Nair. The paramilitary and other auxiliary civil forces included the Border Security Force Camel Contingent, Indian Coast Guard, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme.
Tableaux from states, Union Territories and Union ministries presented the historical, art and cultural heritage of the country. They showcased country's progress in different fields, particularly floats from Goa, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir.
In the children's pageant section, about 600 boys and girls drawn from three schools in Delhi and a group of school children from South Central Zone Cultural Centre, Nagpur performed colourful dances on varid themes.
The splendid driving skills of 'Dare Devils'—the motorcycle display team of Corps of Military Police was a major attraction of the parade. They performed different stunts like Salute to President, Ladder, Double Bar, Lotus, Christmas Tree, Aircraft, Sudarshan Chakra, Flower Pot, Pyramid and Wheeling on moving motorcycles.
The 'Netra', an Airborne Early Warning and Control System aircraft also known as "Eye in the Sky" was one of the major attractions.
It was followed by the 'Globe Formation' comprising one C-17 Globemaster flanked by two Su-30 MKIs. Next in line was the fighters, where five Jaguars flew in arrowhead formation, while five MiG-29 fighters flew in fulcrum style. It was followed by the breathtaking 'Trishul' formation comprising three Su-30 MKIs.
The flypast concluded with another Su-30 MKI carrying out a 'Vertical Charlie' manoeuvre over the saluting dais. The ceremony culminated with the national anthem and release of balloons.
SU 30 MKI fly past in Trishool formation.
3 C-130 super Hercules fly-past giving aerial salute to the President and the Chief Guest.
* Cultural performance by girl students of Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Chirag Delhi at Rajpath.
* Khadi India tableau
Assam Tableau passes through the Rajpath
* Jammu and Kashmir tableau at Republic Day parade
— ANI (@ANI) January 26, 2017
* Maharashtra tableau
Indian Navy tableau
Indian Air Force tableau
* National Security Guard makes debut at Republic Day parade
* BSF's camel mounted contingent at Rajpath
* Infantry combat vehicles salute to the President and the Chief Guest.
* In a first, contingent of UAE soldiers along with its music band lead the parade.
Ashok Chakra (Posthumous) for Havildar Hangpan Dada. Award is received by his wife Chasen Lowang Dada.
President Pranab Mukherjee unfurls Tricolour at majestic Rajpath
President Pranab Mukherjee leaves for Rajpath
PM Modi greets nation on Republic Day
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today extended his greetings to the people on the occasion of the 68th Republic Day.
"Republic Day greetings to everyone," he said in a tweet.
गणतंत्र दिवस की सभी देशवासियों को बहुत-बहुत शुभकामनाएं। #RepublicDay greetings to everyone.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 26, 2017
Google Doodle celebrates 68th Republic Day
On the occasion of 68th Republic Day, search engine giant Google has unveiled its doodle honouring the event. The doodle, unveiled at midnight, shows a stadium full of people lined with the three colours of Indian flag: saffron, white and green.
Putin greets President Mukherjee, PM Modi on R-Day
Russian President Vladimir Putin greeted President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying special and privileged strategic partnership with India is an invariable priority in his country's foreign policy.
“Over the decades of independent development, India has achieved impressive success in economic, social, scientific, technical and other spheres. Your country plays an important and constructive role in solving pressing issues of the regional and international agenda,” Putin said in a congratulatory message.
“With all my heart, I wish you good health and success, and to the friendly people of India – well-being and prosperity,” he added.