NEW DELHI, JANUARY 26: The nation celebrated the 71st Republic Day on Sunday with a grand military parade and exhibition of its history, cultural diversity and strategic weaponry at the Rajpath.
Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro was chief guest for this year’s ceremony, which started with Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying tribute to martyrs at the National War Memorial.
This was the third time that a Brazilian President was chief guest at the Republic Day.
There were several firsts in the celebration this year, including the Prime Minister paying homage at the National War Memorial, display of Chinook and Apache helicopters in the fly past and showcasing of the A-SAT weapons system.
Jammu & Kashmir, which participated in the parade for the first time as a Union Territory, had the “Back to Village” programme for displaced Kashmiri Pandits as the theme for its tableau.
Twenty-two tableaux were on display during the parade, of which 16 were of various states and UTs and 6 were of Ministries, Departments and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
The ‘Dhanush’ gun system, commanded by Captain Mrigank Bharadwaj, was part of the celebrations for the first time on Sunday. The gun with a maximum range of 36.5 km has the capability of automatic gun alignment and positioning.
Heavy-lift helicopter Chinook and attack helicopter Apache, both recently inducted in the Indian Air Force, took also part in the fly-past for the first time.
The Chinooks can airlift diverse loads in remote locations. It is a heavy lift, twin rotor helicopter which has enhanced IAF’s lift capability across a range of military and HADR missions.
The Apache, on the other hand, is a versatile helicopter capable of firing air to air and air to ground missiles, rockets and front gun aided through fire control radar which can unleash havoc on the adversary.
Captain Tania Shergill, a 4th generation Army officer, led the marching contingent of the Corps of Signals.
Keeping up with the pace of technical advancement in the 21th Century, the Corps of Signals has effectively achieved electronic and information superiority to empower the Indian Army against the nation’s adversaries.