New Delhi: A grand display of Indian military might and rich cultural diversity in the presence of leaders from the 10 Asean nations marked the 69th Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath on Friday.
It was for the first time that leaders from all Asean countries attended the annual celebrations as chief guests. The overwhelming presence of the Asean leaders is seen as a reflection of India’s growing stature as a major power in the region where China has been trying to expand its footprint.
A march-past by Army personnel carrying the Asean flag also featured in the parade. The flypast by IAF planes entertained the guests.
In a virtual repeat of last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sporting a saffron, red and green “safa”, took a long walk on the Rajpath after the parade and departure of guests and waved enthusiastically amid chants of “Modi, Modi”.
Thousands of people on both sides of the majestic Rajpath, India’s ceremonial boulevard facing the seat of power on the Raisina Hill, braved the winter chill and cheered loudly as the marching contingents and tableaux went past them. The parade was commanded by Lt General Asit Mistry, General-Officer-Commanding, headquarters, Delhi area. The supreme commander of the Indian armed forces President Ram Nath Kovind took the salute at the parade.
All eyes rolled skyward as the pulsating hum of the approaching Rudra formation, including three weapon system integrated choppers, reached the ears of the spectators.
The Rudra choppers made their maiden appearance at the Republic Day Parade this year. The “Globe formation” comprising one C-17 Globemaster flanked by two Su-30 MKIs was also impressive....