New Delhi: US President Barack Obama witnessed India’s military might and cultural diversity at the country’s 66th Republic Day on Monday.
The chief guest at the annual fare will be at Rajpath with “women’s empowerment” being the theme of this year’s Republic Day parade. The main attraction of the extravaganza was marching contingents of all-women officers of the three services. Defence sources said the thought of having an all-women contingent came from Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself as he wanted the services to focus on “Nari Shakti”.
Tableaux from 16 states and nine central ministries and departments presented the varied historical, architectural and cultural heritage of the country. The theme of most of the tableaux this year had imprints of the Prime Minister’s pet projects like “Jan Dhan Yojna”, “Maa Ganga”, “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”, bullet train and the “Make in India” drive.
Another attraction was the display of Army version of indigenously developed surface-to-air Akash medium range missile and Weapon Locating Radar, both by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
India for the first time displayed its recently acquired long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine P-8I aircraft and the long-range advanced MiG-29K fighter plane.
An Indian Air Force tableau with the theme “50 years of 1965 War” followed them at the majestic Rajpath. The Indian Air Force has proudly put on display aircraft which proved their prowess in the 1965 Indo-Pak war the Gnat, the Vampire, followed by the Canberra bomber, MI-4 helicopter and Packet transport aircraft.
In keeping with the Indian Navy’s theme “Ensuring Safe Seas for a Resurgent Nation”, the Naval Tableau displayed frontline assets in all four dimensions of maritime warfare.
The Republic Day parade ceremony commenced at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate where Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath.
As per tradition, after unfurling of the tricolour, the National Anthem was played with a 21-gun salute. The parade then commenced and President Pranab Mukherjee took the salute.
The parade began with showering of petals by IAF helicopters, which will also display the tricolour and flags of Army, Navy, and Air Force. Also, 20 young brave hearts who won the national bravery awards drove through the Rajpath in gypsies.
The grand finale of the parade was a spectacular flypast by the IAF jets and aircraft. The flypast commenced with ‘Chakra’ formation, comprising three Mi-35 helicopters in ‘Vic’ formation, followed by the ‘Hercules’ formation comprising three C-130J super Hercules aircraft. Other aircraft taking part were P-8I, MiG-29Ks and C-17 Globemaster flanked by two Su-30s. Jaguars will fly in Arrowhead formation and the five MiG-29 fighters, called the ‘Tridents’, flew ‘Fulcrum’ style....