India’s military prowess and achievements depicted in a variety of tableux were on a grand show before the public at the historic Rajpath when the country celebrated its 68th Republic Day today.
The highlights of this year’s Parade were a 149-member UAE Presidential Guard, the Air Force, the Navy and Army contingent led by a UAE band marching on Rajpath and presenting a ceremonial salute to the President of India. The UAE military contingent is led by Lt Col Abood Musabeh Abood Musabeh Alghfeli.
This year’s parade also showed some of the firsts to its credit. For the first time a contingent of the National Security Guard (NSG) popularly known as the Black Cat Commandoes marched past the Rajpath. The parade also saw the fly-past of three LCA Tejas Aircraft flying at a height of 300 m from ground in ‘Vic’ formation and the Airborne Early Warning & Control System (AEW&C) developed by DRDO.
Continuing the 67-year-old tradition of the Republic Day Celebration, the colourful BSF Camel Regiment led this time by Deputy Commandant Kuldeep Seervi took part.
The Indian Army’s missiles, T-90 ‘Bhishma’ tank, Infantry Combat Vehicle BMP-2K, Mobile Autonomous Launcher of the BrahMos Missile System, Weapon Locating Raddar ‘Swathi’, Akash Weapon System, CBRN Recconnnaisance Vehicle and Dhanush Gun System were the main draw in the mechanised columns.
An Indian Air Force Tableau marched past with the theme “Air Dominance Through Network Centric Operations”, displaying models of Su-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, AWACS, UAV, Apache and Communication Sattelite.
This year the Indian Navy’s Tableau had the theme ‘Indian Navy – Professional Force-Anchoring Stability, Security and National Prosperity’. The tableau showcased the lethal Marine Commandoes proceeding for action, the indigenously built Kolkata Class Destroyer and the Kalvari Class next generation attack submarines. The tableaux also displayed a model of the P-8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
The parade ceremony commenced at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate where Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath. An eternal flame burns at the Amar Jawan Jyoti to commemorate the indomitable courage of Indian Armed Forces personnel who have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the motherland. The Amar Jawan, the immortal soldier, is symbolised by a reversed rifle standing on its barrel and crested by a soldier’s helmet.
As per tradition, after unfurling the National Flag, the national anthem was played with a 21 gun salute. The parade commenced then and President Mukherjee took the salute. This year’s Chief Guest in the parade Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces too joined PM Modi and other dignitaries in the glass box.
The parade was commanded by Lt. General Manoj Mukund Naravane, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area. Major General Rajesh Sahai, Chief of Staff, Headquarter Delhi Area was the parade Second-in-Command.
Param Vir Chakra winners Subedar Major & Honorary Captain Bana Singh (Retd), Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers and Naib/Subedar Sanjay Kumar, 13 JAK Rifles and Ashok Chakra winners Major General Cyrus A Pithawalla (Retd), Lt Col Jas Ram Singh (Retd), Mr. Hukum Singh and Mr. Govind Singh of district Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh and Mr. Bhure Lal of district Guna also from Madhya Pradesh followed the Deputy Parade Commander on Jeeps.
The marching contingents of Army included horse-mounted columns of the 61st Cavalry, the Machanised Infantry Regiment, the Bihar Regiment, the 39 Gorkha Training Centre, 58 Gorkha Training Centre, the Madras Engineering Group and Centre and 103 Infantry Battalion (Territoral Army) Sikh LI.
The marching contingent of Navy comprising 144 young sailors was led by Lieutenant Aparna Nair, while the Indian Air Force contingent comprising 144 men will be led by Squadran Leader Attal Singh Shekhon. The Paramilitary and other auxiliary civil forces included the Border Security Force Camel Contingent, Indian Coast Guard, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme.
Tableaux from 17 States and UT, six Central Ministries and Departments presented the varied historical, art and cultural heritage of the country. The country’s progress was displayed in different fields, particularly floats from Goa, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir with their varied themes, which were of special attraction.
The floats of Central Board of Excise and Customs, Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Allevation showed the rapid development of some of the flagship programmes of the Government. The floats of Council of Scientific and Industial Reasearch (CSIR) and Ministry of Skill Development & Enterpreneurship were also displayed highlighting the significant progress in the scientific and technoligical growth including the vision of “Skill India”.
Next 21 of the 25 children selected for the National Bravery Award–2016 participated in the parade. Next, about 600 boys and girls drawn from three schools in Delhi and a group of school children from South Central Zone Cultural Centre, Nagpur performed colourful dances on varid themes.
The splendid driving skills of ‘Dare Devils’- the motorcycle display team of Corps of Military Police followed next and they performed different stunts like Salute to President, Ladder, Double Bar, Lotus, Christmas Tree, Aircraft, Sudarshan Chakra, Flower Pot, Pyramid and Wheeling on moving motor cycles.
The grand finale of the parade was a spectacular flypast by the IAF with the ‘Chakra’ formation, comprising three Mi-35 helicopters in ‘Vic’ formation, followed by the ‘Hercules’ formation comprising three C-130J Super Hercules aircraft in ‘Vic’ formation. Trailing them was the ‘Netra’ which is an Airborne Early Warning and Control System Aircraft also known as “Eye in the Sky”. It was followed by the ‘Globe formation’ comprising one C-17 Globemaster flanked by two Su-30 MKIs.
Next in line was the fighters, where five Jaguars flew in Arrowhead formation, another five MiG-29 Air Superiority Fighters in Fulcrum style. Then the breath-taking ‘Trishul’ formation comprising three Su-30 MKIs of No. 24 Squadron which flew over the Rajpath, and once in front of the saluting dais, the Su-30 MKI aircraft will split upwards, making a Trishul in the sky.
The flypast concluded with another Su-30 MKI carrying out a ‘Vertical Charlie’ manoeuvre over the saluting dais. The ceremony culminated with the national anthem and release of balloons.