71st Republic Day will be celebrated in 2020. India celebrated its 70th Republic Day on January 26, 2019 with full patriotic zeal, displaying its different colours of cultural diversity, heritage, military might in the traditional parade in New Delhi.
Thousands of spectators including foreign dignitaries and India’s top political leaders, military officials and others witnessed the Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath, New Delhi on January 26. Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially initiated the Republic Day celebrations by paying homage to India’s fallen soldiers, heroes of the nation at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate.
President Ram Nath Kovind unfurled the tri-colour as per the tradition. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa graced the occasion as the Chief Guest of the 70th Republic Day of India. His presence as the Chief Guest was significant in view of the parade highlighting Mahatma Gandhi’s contribution to India’s freedom struggle. Gandhiji had joined the Indian National Movement after a 21-year stay in South Africa. Ramaphosa is the second President of South Africa after Nelson Mandela to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations in India.
A major highlight of the parade was participation of four Indian National Army veterans—Parmanand, Lalti Ram, Hira Singh and Bhagmal, all aged over 90 years—for the first time.
Main Battle Tank of the Indian Army, T-90 Bhishma, Infantry Combat Vehicle Ballway Machine Pikate, K-9 Vajra-T, Ultra Light Howitzer and Akash weapon system were other highlights of the parade.
Contingents of the Navy, Army Service Corps and a unit of Corps of Signals (transportable satellite terminal) were also led by women officers. A total of 22 tableaux, 16 from states and union territories and six from central government ministries and departments, were part of the cultural parade.
The tableau of Maharashtra portrayed ‘Quit India Movement’ while the tableau of Andaman and Nicobar showcased Gandhiji’s role among the inmates of the cellular jail in Andaman. Jallianwala Bagh was the theme of Punjab tableau, which will evoke memories of the watershed moment in the independence struggle.
Tableau of Gujarat depicted Mahatma Gandhi’s historical ‘Dandi March’, which shook the foundation of the British empire. Twenty-six children-six girls and 20 boys awardees of Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar for their exceptional achievement also graced the occasion.
The grand finale was a spectacular flypast by the Air Force. The flypast commenced with the ‘Rudra’ formation comprising three helicopters in ‘Vie’ formation, followed by the ‘Hercules’ formation. Three Sukhoi 30 MKI of the Air Force executed the Trishul manoeuvre.
The ceremony culminated with the national anthem and release of balloons. The Parade was watched by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the country’s top political and military brass.
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