India’s military might, cultural diversity, social and economic progress will be on display during the 71st Republic Day celebrations at the majestic Rajpath, here tomorrow. Anti-satellite weapon – Mission Shakthi developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Army’s battle tank Bhishma, infantry combat vehicles, Air Forces’ newly inducted Chinook and Apache helicopters, in addition to tableaux depicting Akash and Astra missiles and Navy’s prowess will be showcased during the 90-minute long parade. Twenty tableaux – 16 from States and Union Territories and six from various Ministries/Departments depicting the nation’s rich cultural heritage and economic progress will roll down the Rajpath. School children will convey age old message of yoga and spiritual values through dance and music and Indian Air Force aircraft will thunder in the sky projecting the air power.
President Shri Ram Nath Kovind will host this year’s chief guest President of the Federative Republic of Brazil Mr Jair Messias Bolsonaro. The 38th President of Brazil, President Bolsonaro assumed office on January 01, 2019. Under his leadership, Brazil has successfully completed the pro-tempore presidency of the association of five major emerging national economies known as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
The relations between India and Brazil are based on a common global vision, shared democratic values and a commitment to foster inclusive economic growth for the welfare of the people of both countries. Brazil was the first Latin American nation to establish diplomatic relations with India in 1948. The ties were elevated to a strategic partnership in 2006, opening a new phase in the bilateral relations.
The Republic Day Parade ceremony will commence with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi visiting the National War Memorial near India Gate. He will lead the nation in paying solemn tributes to the martyrs by laying a wreath. This is for the first time that the Prime Minister will pay homage to martyrs at the National War Memorial instead of Amar Jawan Jyoti. Thereafter, the Prime Minister and other dignitaries will head to the saluting dais at Rajpath to witness the parade.
As per tradition, the National Flag will be unfurled followed by the National Anthem with a booming 21-gun salute. The parade will commence with President Shri Ram Nath Kovind taking the salute. The parade will be commanded by Parade Commander, Lieutenant General Asit Mistry, General Officer Commanding, Headquarters Delhi Area. Major General Alok Kacker, Chief of Staff, Delhi Area will be the Parade Second-in-Command.
The proud winners of the highest gallantry awards will follow. They include the winners of the Param Vir Chakra and the Ashok Chakra. Param Vir Chakra winners Subedar Major & Honorary Captain Bana Singh (Retd), Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers and Subedar Sanjay Kumar, 13 JAK Rifles and Ashok Chakra winners Major General Cyrus A Pithawalla (Retd), Lieutenant Colonel Jas Ram Singh (Retd), Lieutenant Colonel D Sreeram Kumar and Naib Subedar (Honorary) Chhering Mutup (Retd) will follow the Deputy Parade Commander on Jeeps. The Param Vir Chakra is awarded for the most conspicuous act of bravery and self-sacrifice in the face of the enemy. The Ashok Chakra is awarded for similar acts of valour and self-sacrifice but, other than, in the face of the enemy.
The first contingent in the uniform of the erstwhile Gwalior Lancers will be 61 Cavalry led by Captain Deepanshu Sheoran. The 61 Cavalry is the only active serving horse cavalry regiment in the world. It was raised on August 01, 1953 with the amalgamation of six state forces’ cavalry units.
The Indian Army will be represented by a Mounted Column of 61 Cavalry, eight mechanised columns, six marching contingents and fly-past by Rudra and Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters of the Army Aviation.
Indigenously-developed Main Battle Tank of the Indian Army, T-90 Bhishma, Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV) Ballway Machine Pikate (BMP)-II, K-9 VAJRA-T, Dhanush Gun System, newly-inducted five-metre Short Span Bridging System, Sarvatra Bridge System, Transportable Satellite Terminal and Akash weapon system will be the main attraction in the mechanised columns.
The other marching contingents of the Army will include the Parachute Regiment, the Grenadiers Regiment, the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment, the Kumaon Regiment and the Corps of Signals. The Combined Band of the Armoured Corps Centre & School, Madras Engineers Group & Centre and Artillery Regimental Centre, the Combined Band of 11 Gorkha Rifles Regimental Centre, 39 Gorkha Training Centre, Kumaon Regimental Centre and Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre will also march past the saluting dais.
Marching for the first time on Republic Day will be the contingent of the Corps of Army Air Defence. It will be followed by The Combined Band of Combined Band of Bengal Engineers Group & Centre, Brigade OF Guards Training Centre, 3 Electronics & Mechanical Engineers Centre and Madras Regimental Centre.
The Naval contingent will comprise of 144 young sailors led by Lieutenant Jitin Malkat as Contingent Commander. It will be followed by the Naval Tableau titled ‘Indian Navy – Silent, Strong, and Swift’. The fore part of the tableau showcases the might and fire power of Navy in all three dimensions, while the next part exhibits the Navy’s commitment to nation building.
The Air Force contingent, comprising of 144 air warriors, will be led by Flight Lieutenant Shrikant Sharma. The Air Force tableau showcases scaled down models of the Rafale aircraft, the Tejas aircraft, the Light Combat Helicopter, the Akash Missiles System and the Astra Missiles.
The Veterans’ tableau, marking the recognition and respect to the soldiers’ selfless service to the nation, will showcase the theme ‘Force behind the Force’.
One of the main highlights will be the marching contingent of DRDO that will showcase Anti-Satellite Weapons (ASAT) – Mission Shakti. ASAT (Anti-Satellite) weapons play a critical role in providing the necessary strategic deterrence. Mission Shakti, India’s first Anti-Satellite (ASAT) mission, was a major breakthrough in demonstrating the nation’s Anti-Satellite technology. The second equipment of DRDO will be the Air Defence Tactical Control Radar (ADTCR) used for volumetric surveillance, detection, tracking and friend/foe identification of aerial targets of different types and transmission of prioritised target data to multiple command posts/weapon systems.
The Indian Coast Guard marching contingent will be led by Deputy Commandant Gaurav Sharma. The motto of the Indian Coast Guard is ‘Vayam Rakshamah’ meaning ‘We Protect’.
The contingents of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Delhi Police and Border Security Force (BSF) will also march past the saluting dais. The National Cadet Corps (NCC) Boys Marching contingent will be led by Commander Junior Under-Officer Charandeep Singh Bhaduria, NCC Directorate Uttar Pradesh, while the Girls contingent will be headed by Senior Under-Officer Shreeshma Hegde, NCC Directorate, Karnataka & Goa. The National Service Scheme (NSS) contingent comprising 148 volunteers will also take part. The Massed Pipes and Drums Band of the Indian Army will also be on display.
Sixteen tableaux from various states/union territories will be showcased during the parade, depicting the geographical and rich cultural diversity of the country. Six tableaux from different ministries/departments will also be on display, showcasing various far-reaching reforms of the Government including ‘Startup India’, ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna’ and ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’. The glorious past and vibrant future of the Kolkata Port Trust is the theme of the tableau of Ministry of Shipping.
The proud winners of Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar will follow in Jeeps. The children were conferred the award for exceptional achievements in the fields of bravery, social service, art and culture, sports, innovation and scholastic. It will be followed by children’s pageant comprising over 600 participants. The cultural show will be led by Arvind Gupta DAV Centenary Public School, Model Town, Delhi on the theme ‘Yog – Vishwa Shakti ki Ore’. ‘The Baul’, a group of mystic minstrels from the historical Bengal region, is the theme of Vinay Nagar Bengali Senior Secondary School, Sarojini Nagar, Delhi. The children from Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya B-Block, Janak Puri, New Delhi will perform on the theme ‘Mharo Rang Rangilo Rajasthan’. West Zone Cultural Centre, Udaipur will present ‘Garba – the folk dance of Gujarat’.
For the first time, a contingent of women bikers of CRPF will perform daredevil stunts. The contingent will be led by Inspector Seema Nag who will be seen saluting while standing atop a moving motorcycle. The bikers will perform several daring acts on moving bikes before a human pyramid on multiple motorcycles bring up the rear.
The grand finale and the most keenly awaited segment of the parade, the Fly Past will comprise of the ‘Trishul’ formation by three ALH helicopters. It is for the first time that a “Tri-service Formation” is taking part in the Republic Day Parade. It will be followed by the ‘Vic’ formation of Chinook helicopters, used for airlifting diverse loads to remote locations. Apache helicopters, Dornier aircraft, C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, Netra, an Airborne Early Warning and Control System aircraft and the ‘Globe’ formation comprising three C-17 Globemasters are some of the other highlights. Five Jaguar Deep penetration strike aircraft and five MiG-29 Upgrade Air Superiority Fighters in ‘Arrowhead’ formation will enthral the audience before the exhilarating Trishul manoeuvre by Su-30 MKIs. The parade will culminate with a Su-30 MKI splitting the sky with a breath taking ‘Vertical Charlie’ aerobatic manoeuvre.
The ceremony will culminate with the national anthem and the release of balloons.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.