rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » PHOTOS: India displays its military might, vibrant culture on R-Day

PHOTOS: India displays its military might, vibrant culture on R-Day

Last updated on: January 26, 2017 21:53 IST

The majestic Rajpath saw a scintillating display of India's military might and resplendent cultural diversity as the country celebrated its 68th Republic Day on Thursday, with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan attending the event as guest of honour.

 

IMAGE: A spectacular bird's eye view of the Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi. Photograph: Press Information Bureau

Light rain and overcast skies failed to dampen the enthusiasm of thousands of spectators who watched the nearly an hour-and-half-long parade along the imposing Rajpath, India's ceremonial boulevard.

A major highlight of the parade was 149-member marching contingent from the United Arab Emirates comprising personnel from Presidential Guards, the Air Force, the Navy and Army, led by a band comprising 35 musicians from the Gulf country with which India's defence and security ties are on an upswing.

 

IMAGE: Akash Missile System --the first indigenously developed air defence system that can fire short-range surface-to-air missiles -- rolling down the Rajpath. Photograph: PIB

In a first, the 'black cat' commandos of the elite counter-terror force National Security Guard participated in the parade which drew loud cheers from the spectators.

A number of weapons systems and aircraft including the Tejas light combat jets and the Airborne Early Warning and Control System developed by the DRDO were on display, showcasing India's military prowess.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets people. Photograph: PIB

Al Nahyan, also Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE armed forces, was seated next to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who wore a pink coloured 'safa' (turban). The two leaders were seen sharing some light moments.

The Indian Army's missile firing T-90 'Bhishma' tank, Infantry Combat Vehicle BMP-2K, Mobile Autonomous Launcher of the BrahMos Missile System, Weapon Locating Radar 'Swathi' and Akash Weapons System, and Dhanush artillery guns were among the main draw in the mechanised columns.

 

IMAGE: An Indian Army CBRN Reconnaissance vehicle, built to operate in a chemical, biological or radiological environment to monitor nuclear and chemical contamination levels, rolls down the Rajpath. Photograph: PIB

President Pranab Mukherjee took the salute of marching contingents.

Alongside the Crown Prince, the ceremonial parade was watched by Vice President Hamid Ansari, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and the country's top political and military brass, besides the diplomatic community.

 

IMAGE: Infantry Combat Vehicle passes through the Rajpath. Photograph: PIB

Tableaux from 17 states and Union Territories and six central ministries and departments showcased the varied historical, artistic and cultural heritage of the country. Interestingly, Goods and Services Tax was the theme of the tableau of Central Board of Excise and Customs.

Twenty one of the 25 children who won the National Bravery Award also participated in the parade. Four children have received the award posthumously.

 

IMAGE: President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chief Guest of the Republic Day, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at Rajpath. Photograph: PIB

The grand finale of the parade was a spectacular flypast by the Indian Air Force which displayed various formations like 'Chakra' and 'Vic' leaving spectators spell-bound. The 'Hercules' formation comprising three C-130J Super Hercules aircraft also drew loud cheers.

A massive ground-to-air security apparatus was put in place in the national capital turning the city into a virtually impregnable fortress. Snipers of the National Security Guard were deployed atop all high-rises along the parade route.

IMAGE: C-17 Globemaster plane flying past above the Rajpath. Photograph: PIB

President Mukherjee also gave away the Ashoka Chakra, India's highest peacetime gallantry award, to Hangpan Dada of Rashtrita Rifles posthumously.

The theme of IAF tableau was "Air Dominance Through Network Centric Operations" and it displayed the scaled down models of Su-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, AWACS, UAV, Apache and Communication Satellite.

 

IMAGE: Transportable Satellite Terminal passes through the Rajpath. Photograph: PIB

The Indian Navy's tableau showcased the lethal Marine Commandos proceeding for action, the indigenously built Kolkata Class Destroyer and the Kalvari Class next generation attack submarines. It also showcased a model of the P-8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

IMAGE: President Mukherjee, Prime Minister Modi look on as the Crown Prince of Adu Dhabi takes photo from his mobile during the 68th Republic Day celebrations. Photograph: Kamal Singh/PTI Photo

As per tradition, after unfurling the national flag, the national anthem was played followed by a 21 gun salute.

The parade was commanded by Lt General Manoj Mukund Naravane, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area.

IMAGE: Chasen Lowang Dada, the widow of martyr Havildar Hangpan Dada receives Ashoka Chakra from President Pranab Mukherjee on behalf of her husband. Photograph: PIB

The marching contingents of Army included horse-mounted columns of the 61st Cavalry, the Mechanised Infantry Regiment, the Bihar Regiment, the 39 Gorkha Training Centre, 58 Gorkha Training Centre, the Madras Engineering Group and Centre and 103 Infantry Battalion.

 

IMAGE: Weapon Locating Radar, Swathi passes through the Rajpath. The system is capable of tracking up to seven targets simultaneously. Photograph: PIB

The paramilitary and other auxiliary civil forces included the Border Security Force's Camel Contingent, Indian Coast Guard, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme.

The Navy contingent comprised 144 young sailors and was led by Lieutenant Aparna Nair.

IMAGE: Sukhoi Su 30 fighter jets flying over the Rajpath. Photograph: PIB

Tableaux from states, Union Territories and Union ministries presented the historical, artistic and cultural heritage of the country.

Floats from Goa, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir showcased the country's progress in different fields.

 

IMAGE: Military police daredevils display stunt on motorcycles. Photograph: PIB

In the children's pageant section, 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 varied themes.

The splendid driving skills of 'Dare Devils'--the motorcycle acrobatics team of Corps of Military Police was a major attraction of the parade.

IMAGE: The tableau from Jammu and Kashmir. Photograph: PIB

They performed breathtaking manoeuvres like Salute to President, Ladder, Double Bar, Lotus, Christmas Tree, Aircraft, Sudarshan Chakra, Flower Pot, Pyramid and Wheeling on moving motorcycles.

The 'Netra', an Airborne Early Warning and Control System aircraft also known as "Eye in the Sky" was one of the major attractions.

 

IMAGE: India's main battle tank T90, Bhishma heads the Republic Day parade. Photograph: PIB

It was followed by the 'Globe Formation' comprising one C-17 Globemaster flanked by two Su-30 MKIs. Next in line were the fighters, with five Jaguars fling in arrowhead formation, while five MiG-29 fighters darted through the sky in fulcrum style.

IMAGE: The tableau from Goa. Photograph: PIB

It was followed by the breathtaking 'Trishul' formation comprising three Su-30 MKIs.

The flypast concluded with another Su-30 MKI carrying out a 'Vertical Charlie' manoeuvre over the saluting dais. The ceremony concluded with the national anthem and release of colourful balloons.

 

IMAGE: DRDO's Advance Towed Artillery Gun System being displayed at the parade. Photograph: PIB

Minutes before the parade began, the prime minister, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and chiefs of army, navy and air force laid wreaths at 'Amar Jawan Jyoti', the war memorial at the India Gate where an eternal flame burns in the memory of those who laid down their lives defending the nation's frontiers.

As part of the multi-layered security, around 60,000 security personnel were deployed across the city.

© Copyright 2017 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.