The nation is celebrating its 70th Republic Day with the usual parades showcasing India’s military might and cultural diversity. The national affair will showcase everything that India stands for. This annual display of our newer and modern military weapons, as well as achievements in different fields, will serve to renew our pride in our nation. The day began with a tribute to the departed soldiers when Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti.
The Republic Day event has South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as the chief guest. After the hoisting of the National Flag and a 21-gun salute, gallantry awards — Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra — were conferred upon defence personnel with outstanding achievements.
Apart from other routine things, this time the Republic Day parade has many firsts. Here we are taking a look at what happened at this year’s parade.
First women contingent
For the first time, a woman contingent of Assam Rifles took part in the parade and Major Khushboo Kanwar lead this contingent.
Motorcycle stunts led by woman officer
The Daredevils Motorcycle Team included a woman officer in their team. In a first, the motorcycle display by Corps of Signal, was led by lady officer Captain Shikha.
Martial tune Sankhnaad
For the first time, Sankhnaad, a martial tune created for the Indian Armed forces was played. Based on Indian classical music, this is the first original martial tune of independent India. The tune is composed of three ragas- Raag Bilaskhani Todi, Raag Bhairavi and Raag Kirvani. It was composed by Dr Tanuja Nafde, a professor, based on a poem written by Brig Vivek Sohal. It was accepted as the official martial tune in December 2017.
Parade of INA Veterans
Aged between 90 and 100 years, four veterans belonging to Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army, took part for the first time. The names include Bhagmal (100), Laltiram (98), Parmanand (99) and Hira Singh (97). Bhagmal had joined and fought for the INA in 1942.
ULHs being part of Weapons Display
For the first time, Indian Army displayed the newly-inducted ultra light howitzers M777 and K9 Vajra. The artillery gun system M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers, was recently procured from the US and K9 Vajra, a self-propelled artillery gun made under “make in India” programme will be new additions this year.
Apart from this, two projects of Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) including medium range surface to air missile, and Arjun armoured Rec and repair vehicle, were also on display.
Three days after the parade, the Beating Retreat ceremony will be held on January 29 to mark the end of Republic Day festivities. The national capital has been turned into a fortress and to make the national capital a complete no-entry zone, Around 25,000 security personnel, CCTV cameras, mobile hit teams, anti-aircraft guns and sharpshooters, were kept on the parade route.