Amid ASEAN marching contingents, colour and valour at Republic Day parade, 23 tableaux roll out at Rajpath

The celebrations of the 69th Republic Day took place on Rajpath in New Delhi on Friday in the presence of the leaders of 10 ASEAN nations who attended the event as chief guests. The event took place amidst extraordinary security cover keeping the mind the number of chief guests present at the venue.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his tributes to the jawans and bravehearts by laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti in the presence of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the three service chiefs. Later Modi, wearing a saffron, red and green-coloured safa, reached the Rajpath and received and greeted President Ram Nath Kovind and the chief guests from the 10 ASEAN nations.

Twenty-three tableaux, including those representing various states, ministries, and government departments, rolled down Rajpath. Public broadcaster Doordarshan installed 38 cameras for the coverage of the celebrations. For the first time, six cameras have been deployed for coverage beyond India Gate.

A motorcycle contingent of women personnel of the BSF showcased their skills for the first time at the parade. The 27-member BSF women 'daredevils' squad, named 'Seema Bhavani', performed stunts and acrobatics on their 350cc Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycles.

There was also a flypast by MI-17 and RUDRA armed helicopters along with a number of Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft. Five Mi-17 V5 helicopters of the IAF, showering petals and carrying the national flag, ASEAN flag and services flags, preceded parade commander Lieutenant General Asit Mistry, the General Officer Commanding (Delhi Area). A camel contingent of the BSF and columns of the 61st cavalry with 51 horses was also part of the parade.

Amid ASEAN marching contingents, colour and valour at Republic Day parade, 23 tableaux roll out at Rajpath

India showcased its military and cultural might at the 69th Republic Day. Image/Twitter

The IAF tableau was themed "Indian Air Force encouraging indigenisation", while the tri-service tableau had the message "veterans are asset to the nation'.

For the first time, a tableau of All India Radio led a series of 23 tableaux during the parade and it also featured Prime Minister Narendra Modi's monthly address 'Mann Ki Baat'. An Income Tax Department tableau about special anti-black money drive launched post-demonetisation was also on the list of many firsts.

The Navy showcased Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant, which will be commissioned in 2020 and the Defence Development and Research Organisation exhibited the 'Nirbhay' missile and the Ashwini radar system. Three T-90 tanks, two BRAHMOS missiles, two AKASH missiles were also be part of the mechanised columns at the parade.

Further the event also saw the posthumous conferment of the Ashok Chakra to Jyoti Prakash Nirala, an IAF Garud commando who laid down his life while gunning down two terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. Ashok Chakra is the highest peacetime military decoration for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield.

The parade commenced amid a heavy security blanket with thousands of security personnel, anti-aircraft guns and sharpshooters deployed in view of the event being attended by ASEAN leaders. Barricades were erected on all major roads leading to the parade venue with policemen checking vehicles and informing people about diversions. Mobile hit teams, anti-aircraft guns and sharpshooters were deployed to keep a watch on the eight-kilometre-long parade route from Rajpath to Red Fort besides nearby localities.

Cold weather conditions and dense fog failed to dampen the spirits of those who came to watch the parade.

Ministers, ASEAN leaders grace occasion

Most of the ministers of the Modi government including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Health Minister JP Nadda, Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan were among those present on the occasion.

The ASEAN leaders, present in New Delhi to attend the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit, are the chief guests at the Republic Day parade which was termed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "historic and unprecedented".

The ASEAN, founded in 1967, comprises Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei.

The ASEAN leaders attending the parade are Singaporean Premier Lee Hsien Loong Brunei's Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Philippines President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Thailand's Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Lao PDR's Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

With input from agencies

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Updated Date: Jan 26, 2018 12:21:16 IST

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