New Delhi: India celebrated its 75th Republic Day today with an impressive display of its military might and rich cultural heritage at the Kartavya Path in the heart of the national capital.
The grand celebrations, with an overarching theme of projecting the nation’s women’s power and democratic values, were graced by French President Emmanuel Macron as the chief guest.
President Droupadi Murmu led the nation in celebrating Republic Day with a 90-minute parade on the ceremonial boulevard — Kartavya Path.
The armed forces displayed an array of home-grown weaponry and military equipment such as missiles, drone jammers, surveillance systems, vehicle-mounted mortars and BMP-II infantry combat vehicles at the parade.
For the first time, an all-women tri-services contingent is the part of the event.
Also, the parade was heralded by over 100 women artists playing Indian musical instruments such as Sankh, Naadswaram, and Nagada for the first time instead of the traditional military bands.
Around 15 women pilots also enthraled the audience during the Indian Air Force’s fly-past, representing ‘Nari Shakti’. The contingents of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) will also consist of only women personnel.
The Republic Day parade was slated to commence at 10:30 am and will be held for around 90 minutes.
The ceremony started with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the National War Memorial, where he led the nation in paying solemn tributes to the fallen heroes by laying a wreath.
Minutes later, President Murmu and her French counterpart Macron arrived in the ‘traditional buggy’, the defence ministry said. This practice is making a comeback after a 40-year gap.
The national flag was unfurled, followed by the national anthem with a 21-gun salute to be given with indigenous gun system 105-mm Indian Field Guns.
Four Mi-17 IV helicopters of the 105 Helicopter Unit showered flower petals on the audience present at Kartavya Path. This was followed by ‘Aavaahan’, a band performance by over 100 women artistes playing various types of percussion instruments.
The parade then commenced with President Murmu taking the salute. It was commanded by Lieutenant General Bhavnish Kumar, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area.
The Kartavya Path also witnessed to a march past by a combined band and marching contingent of the French Armed Forces.
A total of 16 tableaux from states and Union territories and nine from central ministries and departments rolled down the Kartavya Path during the parade.
The states and Union territories from where the tableaux took part in the parade are Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Ladakh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.