India observes 65th Republic Day
New Delhi, Jan 26 : Indians across the world showcased pride on Sunday as the country is celebrating its 65th Republic Day amid tight security arrangements in the national capital, where its military might and cultural diversity as well as heritage was displayed in grand manner at the Rajpath.
The national capital has been turned into a fortress with over 50,000 security men including paramilitary forces being deployed to man the city.
The grand parade ceremony commenced at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh paid homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath.
Besides the Prime Minister, the President, the Vice President and a host of other Indian ministers, politicians, dignitaries, every year, there is a visitor from a foreign country.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the chief guest of the parade this year.
Over 35,000 armed men guarded the parade route from Vijay Chowk to Red Fort.
All kind of vehicular movement on the parade route has been restricted from 4 am on Sunday. Private vehicles have been barred from entering the Rajpath from 6 pm on Saturday.
In India, Republic Day commemorates the date (Jan 26, 1950) on which the Constitution of India came into force replacing the Government of India Act 1935 as the governing document of the country.
As per the tradition, the nation highlighted it achievements in various fields, the military prowess, and also displayed the scintillating display of air power along with its rich and diverse cultural heritage.
The highlights of this year's Parade was the display of India's first indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.
Tejas is a 4+ generation, supersonic, highly manoeuvrable, multi-role, smallest and lightest in its class contemporary combat aircraft designed for the Indian Air Force designed and developed by DRDO. It is considered a 'game changer' for India's air defence preparedness.
The Main Battle Tank (MBT Arjun) MK-II, the first indigenously designed and developed tank and fondly called a Desert Ferrari for its excellent mobility was also on display. The recently inducted transport aircraft into the Indian Air Force, C-130J Super Hercules, which is optimized for undertaking special operations and the gigantic C-17 Globemaster and is a heavy lift, long-range aircraft, added attractions.
The DRDO on Sunday put on display the 'Astra' and 'Helina' Missiles and a tableau on unmanned systems comprising 'DAKSH' - a Remotely Operated Vehicle, models of Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, mini UAV-'NETRA' Wheeled Surveillance Vehicle, Tracked Surveillance Vehicle Muntra S, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle- 'NISHANT', Mini Remotely Operated Vehicle, Confined Space Remotely Operated Vehicle and Gun Mounted Remotely Operated Vehicle.
The weaponry put on display by the Indian Army included tank T-90 'Bheeshma', ICV BMP-2 (Sarath), TK-T-72 Full Width Mine Plough, PMS Bridging System, OSA-AK Weapon System, Smerch - Multi-launcher Rocket System, BrahMos Weapon System and Transportable Satellite Terminals (TST).
The Army's Mechanised Columns concluded with a flypast by the Advanced Light Helicopters 'Dhruv' of the Army Aviation Corps.
The Indian Air Force paraded its tableau with the theme 'Transformation of Indian Air Force.' It represented the IAF multi-faceted transformation over the past eight decades and highlighted the full spectrum capability of the Air Force.
The front trailer showed a Hawai Sepoy to the present day Air Warrior emphasising the IAF's credo of People First Mission Always. The quantum leap in training aircraft was depicted from the early trainer Tiger Moth to the latest Pilatus PC-7 aircraft that is building the critical human potential of Indian Air Force presently.
The second exhibit depicted the transformation in the fighter fleet from a Wapiti biplane to state-of-the-art, air dominance fighter Sukhoi-30 MKI that can undertake full spectrum operations. Similar transformation in the transport fleet of the IAF was shown from the Dakota DC-3 to the C-17 Globe Master that has enhanced IAF's strategic reach.
The Indian Navy's tableau depicted a scaled down model of a submarine, one of the most potent and deadly military platforms in the arsenal of the Navy.
As per tradition, after unfurling of the National Flag, the National Anthem was played.
The parade then commenced and President Pranab Mukherjee took the salute.
The parade was commanded by Lt. General Subroto Mitra, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area. Major General Rajbir Singh, Chief of Staff, Delhi Area will be the parade Second-in-Command.
Param Vir Chakra winners Sub Maj and Capt Bana Singh (Retd), Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers and Havaldar Sanjay Kumar, 13 JAK RIF and Ashok Chakra Winners Maj Gen Cyrus Pithawalla, GoC, Andhra Sub Area, Lt Col Jas Ram Singh (retd), Major D Sreeram Kumar, Instructor, Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun, Naib Subedar Chhering Mutup (retd), Hukum Singh and Govind Singh of District Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh and 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 Parachute Regiment, Punjab Regiment, Madras Regiment, Rajputana Rifles, Mahar Regiment, Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regiment, 9 Gorkha Rifles and 103 Infantry Battalion (TA) Sikh Light Infantry.
The marching contingents of Navy comprising 144 men was led by Surgeon Lieutenant Ambika Nautiyal and the Air Force contingent comprising 144 men was led by Squadron Leader Manvender Singh.
The marching contingents of paramilitary and other auxiliary civil forces included contingents from the Border Security Force, Assam Rifles, Coast Guard, Central Reserve Police Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force, Sashastra Seema Bal, Railway Protection Force, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme.
The Camel-mounted band of the BSF and the Ex-Servicemen marching contingent was another major attraction.
Tableaux from 18 States and Central Ministries and Departments presented the varied historical, architectural and cultural heritage of the country.
They also showcased country's progress in different fields. Twenty of the 25 children selected for the National Bravery Award-2013 participated in the parade..
'Janbaz', the motorcycle display by the Border Security Force was a major attraction of the parade.
The 'Janbaz' team consisted of 162 riders on 30 motorcycles performing Border Men Salute, Side Riding, Ladder Double, Neck Riding, Harmony, Exercise, Janbaz, Yoga, Parallel Bar, Human Pyramid, Guldasta, Seema Prahari and Flag March formations.
The grand finale of the parade was a spectacular flypast by the IAF. The flypast commenced with 'Chakra' formation, comprising three Mi-35 helicopters in 'Vic' formation, followed by the 'Vic' formation comprising three C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.
Trailing them was a 'Globe' formation comprising one C-17 Globemaster, flanked by two Su-30s. Next in line were the fighters, while five Jaguars flew in Arrowhead formation, another five Mig-29 Air Superiority Fighters called the "Tridents" flew in Fulcrum style.
Then the breath-taking Trishul formation comprising three Su-30 MKI of No. 2 Squadron flew over the Rajpath and once in front of the saluting dais the Su-30 MKI aircraft split upwards and made 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.
Meanwhile, Republic Day is being celebrated across India in all states while the security arrangements are heavy in Jammu and Kashmir and in some Northeast states.
In Kashmir valley even mobile phone and internet services have been suspended for a period for an incident free Republic Day celebration.
In Mumbai, the state of Maharashtra planned an extravagant show on Marine Drive for the first time.
A parade was also hosted in Kolkata.
Amid several celebrations, a powerful bomb blast stuck the Imphal city of Manipur on Sunday, media reports said.
However, no casualties have been reported so far.
--IBNS (Posted on 26-01-2014)
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