New Delhi: India celebrated its 69th Republic Day today with a splendrous display of its military might and cultural heritage on New Delhi’s ceremonial heart, the Rajpath.
The parade was watched -- as chief guests -- by ten heads of states of the ASEAN or Association of South East Asian Nations, a first since the parade began its journey in 1950.
The ASEAN chiefs from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Brunei sat on a 100-foot stage enclosed in bullet-proof glass. The stage this year is three times than last year.
The parade was presided over by President Ram Nath Kovind, flanked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers, top leaders from political parties and senior government officials.
LIVE updates from the Republic Day parade
- 11:59 am: Prime Minister walks down Rajpath to greet people on the 69th Republic Day
- 11:43 am: Sukhoi-30 of Indian Air Force execute the Trishul manoeuvre
- 11:47 am: Tri-colour balloons set free in the sky
- 11:42 am: National anthem played with President Ram Nath Kovind saluting the national flag
- 11:40 am: Five Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft in 'Arrowhead' formation at the height of 300 meter and a speed of 780 kilometer per hour
- 11:32 am: The much-awaited and the centre of attraction at the Republic Day parade - Fly past presented by the Indian Air Force at Rajpath in New Delhi
- 11:31 am: Spectacular Bike stunt: Lotus formation by the BSF bikers at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 11:28 am: The members of the special women bikers' squad have been specially chosen by the Border Security Force (BSF) trainers and are aged between 25-30 years. They have been selected from various combat ranks of the force
- 11:26 am: Bike stunt performed for the first time by all-women contingent from any force at the 69th Republic Day parade. The group led by Sub-Inspector Stanzin Noryang, 28, from Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region, stunned the annual event. The women squad has been named Seema Bhavani or the border braves. "Like a Durga they guard our borders and that is why we have named them Seema Bavani," explains their instructor, Deputy Commandant Ramesh Chandra
- 11:26 am: 113 women bikers in the BSF team at the 69th Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi
- 11:24 am: Shikshit Bharat Sashakat Bharat - Educated India, Empowered India, a performance at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 11:21 am: Sangrai Mog Dance performed by the North East Zone Culture Centre in Dimapur at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 11:14 am: Performances by school students at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 11:10 am: Children's Pageant: Bharat Ke Rang leaves the audience spellbound with their performace at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 11:09 am: National Bravery Award winning children at Rajpath in New Delhi. 18 children, seven girls and 11 boys were awarded
- 11:07 am: Income Tax Department - Clean Money tableau at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 11:05 am: Indian Council of Agricultural research - Mishrit Kheti, Khushiyon ki Kheti tableau at the 69th Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi
- 11:04 am: The 69th Republic Day parade also sees tableau by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports - Khelo India
- 11:03 am: Ministry of Tribal Affairs - Uchit Dam Hak Se Mang tableau at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 11:01 am: Gujarat - Century of Sabarmati Ashram tableau at the 69th Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi
- 11:00 am: Manipur - Khamba Thoibi tableau at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:59 am: Himachal Pradesh - Kye Monastery tableau at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:58 am: The tableau of Punjab showcased Sangat and Pangat at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:58 am: Tableau of Assam showcases traditional masks of the Satras at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:57 am: Kerala - Kettukazhcha tableau at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:57 am: Chhattisgarh - Ramgarh's Ancient Amphitheater tableau at the 69th Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi
- 10:56 am: Lakshadweep - Island of joy tableau at the 69th Republic Day parade at Rajpath
- 10:55 am: Madhya Pradesh - Sanchi a key Buddhist centre the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:54 am: Maharashtra - Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj tableau at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:53 am: Livelihood of Jammu and Kashmir tableau displayed at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:52 am: Uttarakhand - Rural Tourism tableau at the the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:51 am: Tableau of the state of Tripura at the 69th Republic Day parade at Rajpath, New Delhi
- 10:48 am: Karnataka - Wild life tableau at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:47 am: The ASEAN - Education and Trade tableau at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:45 am: All India Radio (AIR) tableau or India's National Broadcaster at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:44 am: Pipe and Drum band marching at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:44 am: The Akash weapon system of 27 Air Defence Regiment (Amritsar Air Field), led by Captain Shikha Yadav and Captain Mohammad Yunis Khan at 69th Republic Day parade
— ANI (@ANI) January 26, 2018
- 10:43 am: National Cadet Corps (NCC) Girls Band at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:42 am: National Cadet Corps (NCC) Boys Band at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:40 am: Delhi Police band playing the 'Delhi Police' song at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:39 am: Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) marching to the tune 'Sare Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamara' at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:36 am: Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) Band seen playing Sashastra Seema Bal Song the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:35 am: Border Security Force (BSF) Camel Contingent 'Ships of the Desert' at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:33 am: Weapon locating radar SWATHI displayed at the 69th Republic Day parade. An indigenous radar which can simultaneously track upto seven targets
- 10:28 am: The Air Force tableau displayed at the 69th Republic Day Parade
- 10:28 am: Air Force band at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:26 am: Tableau of Armed force veterans at 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:19 am: President Ram Nath Kovind salutes the marching parade at 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:17 am: Akash surface to air missile displayed at the 69th Republic Day parade
- 10:15 am: ASEAN flag bearer contingent at the Republic Day parade. Flags being carried by a contingent of the Rajputana Rifles regiment
- 10:13 am: 69th Republic Day parade begins with the display of T-90 tankers
10:05 am: Ashoka Chakra awarded to Late Air Force Commando JP Nirala, who lost his life in Bandipora encounter. President Ram Nath Kovind presents award to JP Nirala's mother and wife
- 10:02 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets President Ram Nath Kovind as they get on stage ahead of the 69th Republic Day celebrations
- 09:59 am: Myanmar head of state, Aung San Suu Kyi at the 69th Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath in New Delhi
- 09:56 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives ASEAN leaders at Rajpath as they join as chief guests for the 69th Republic Day celebrations
- 09:47 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives ASEAN leaders at Rajpath as they arrive for the Republic Day parade. In a first, leaders of the 10 ASEAN nations join as the chief guest for the parade
- 09:44 am: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister Rajnath Singh among others present at Rajpath for the 69th Republic Day celebrations
- 09:42 am: President Ram Nath Kovind arrives at Rajpath ahead of the Republic Day parade
- 09:41 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at Rajpath ahead of the Republic Day parade
- 09:38 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at Rajpath. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman welcomes the Prime Minister
- 09:27 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi lay wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti
- 09:26 am: Ahead of the Republic Day parade 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays homage at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate to soldiers who died in the line of duty
Tableaux from 14 States and Union territories, nine Central Ministries, Departments and Central Paramilitary Force will present the varied historical, art and cultural heritage of the country.
The grand finale of the parade will be a fly past by the Air Force. C-130J Super Hercules, C-17 Globemaster, Su-30 MKIs, LCA Tejas will be among the aircraft that will fly in different formations.
Security has been beefed in the national capital for the Republic Day. Mobile hit teams, anti-aircraft guns and sharpshooters have been deployed to keep a watch on the eight-km-long parade route from Rajpath to Red Fort.
Nearly 60,000 security personnel drawn from the Delhi Police and central security forces have been deployed in Central Delhi. Snipers have been stationed on top of high-rise buildings while scores of CCTV cameras are keeping a tight vigil on people's movements on the parade route.
No commercial flights will land and take off at the Indira Gandhi International Airport from 10:35 am to 12:15 pm.
What is special about the 69th Republic Day parade
Unlike the rest of the years, the Republic Day parade will be little different this year.
- During the 90-minute parade, the flags of all the invited nations would be carried by Indian military team. Children from different educational institutions will sing national songs of the guest nations
- Considering the vast contingent of the VVIP guests of honour, the Rajpath Marg has been widened
- As many as 23 tableaux will showcase the nation's culture and diversity in the parade. Out of the 23 tableaux, two will belong to ASEAN countries. These two tableaux will put culture, trade, education and religion aspects on display for Indian peers
- For the first time in Indian history, Narishakti, the female contingent of Border Security Force (BSF), will perform 16 varieties of stunts, including bike stunts, at the parade. The 113-member contingent will be led by sub-inspector Stanzin Noryang. The 28-year-old Armywoman hails from the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir
- Sena Bhavani, the 27-member BSF women 'daredevils' squad, will also showcase their stunts and acrobatics on their 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycles
- Not just Army, Navy and Air Force, 700 students from the invited ASEAN countries would also participate in the parade
- Along with Indian military's recently-procured advanced equipment, BrahMos supersonic cruise missile and Akash surface-to-air missile will also be on display at the parade.
- Indigenously-developed weapon system integrated helicopter Rudra will make its maiden appearance in the 69th Republic Day parade.