India celebrates 73rd Republic Day with iconic parade
New Delhi, January 26: India celebrated its 73rd Republic Day on Wednesday with the iconic parade at Delhi’s Rajpath showcasing its military prowess and cultural pageantry. A flypast by 75 aircraft and helicopters was the highlight of this year’s parade.
This year’s celebrations are significant – it’s the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, being observed as ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ across the country.
Strict Covid protocol was in place as only 5,000 people attended the celebrations at Rajpath. Only fully vaccinated adults and children above 15 who had received the first shot were allowed. Due to the pandemic, there was no foreign contingent this year.
The parade started at 10:30 am, half-an-hour later than usual for better visibility. Ahead of the event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to India’s fallen soldiers at the National War Memorial.
The parade, led by Lieutenant General Vijay Kumar Mishra, started after the tricolour was unfurled with a 21-gun salute. The winners of the country’s highest gallantry awards, Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra, led the contingents in saluting the President, the Supreme Commander of armed forces.
How Indian Army uniforms and rifles evolved over the decades since independence was on display at the parade. Three contingents of the Army wore uniforms and carried rifles from previous decades, and one wore the new combat uniform and carried the latest Tavor rifles.
President Kovind posthumously awarded Ashok Chakra, the country’s highest peacetime gallantry award, to Assistant Sub Inspector Babu Ram, who was killed fighting terrorists in Kashmir. The officer’s wife received the award on his behalf.
The contingents of security forces were followed by tableux from states that showcased
India’s cultural diversity, with themes ranging from the freedom struggle to biodiversity.
Several government ministries and departments also took out tabluex, highlighting flagship initiatives such as Jal Jeevan Mission. The Central Public Works Development tableau paid tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 125th birth anniversary.
About 480 dancers from diverse genre, who were selected through a nationwide dance competition, performed in the parade.
For the ‘Beating Retreat’ ceremony at Vijay Chowk on January 29, a drone show with 1,000 indigenously manufactured drones has been planned. (Agencies)