Republic Day 2020: Rajpath lights up with colourful tableux; Chinook, Apache choppers, women stunt bikers and new weapons showcased

The 71st Republic Day parade at Rajpath on Sunday saw many firsts, including a contingent of Chinook and Apache helicopters, a tri-service formation of three Advanced Light Helicopters and motorcycle stunts by women bikers from the CRPF

FP Staff January 26, 2020 14:49:02 IST
Republic Day 2020: Rajpath lights up with colourful tableux; Chinook, Apache choppers, women stunt bikers and new weapons showcased
  • Modi, along with the Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the defence chiefs, laid the wreath to honour fallen soldiers at the National War Memorial

  • Of the 22 tableaux that were a part of the parade, 16 tableaux were of various states and UTs and six of ministries, departments and the NDRF

  • Three Sukhoi 30MKIs executed the 'Trishul' manoeuvre followed by a lone Sukhoi 30MKI aircraft concluding the parade with a vertical Charlie manoeuvre

It was a first for many - a contingent of Chinook and Apache helicopters, a tri-service formation of three Advanced Light Helicopters and motorcycle stunts by women bikers from the CRPF.

The 71st Republic Day parade at Rajpath on Sunday began with the somber wreath-laying ceremony at the National War Memorial, inaugurated in February last year. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with the Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Army Chief General MM Naravane, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, Air Force Chief Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria, laid the wreath to honour fallen soldiers at the memorial. Until last year, this ceremony was performed at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate.

President Ram Nath Kovind, chief guest and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro were escorted to Rajpath for the parade by the President's Bodyguard - the oldest surviving mounted unit with a 245-year legacy. At Rajpath, Kovind unfurled the Tricolour and received the customary 21-gun salute, presented by 2233 Field Battery under the command of Lieutenant Colonel C Sandeep as the National Anthem was played.

Republic Day 2020 Rajpath lights up with colourful tableux Chinook Apache choppers women stunt bikers and new weapons showcased

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Guest Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro arrive for the 71st Republic Day Parade at Rajpath. PTI

The marching contingents were preceded by a formation of five Mi-17 V5 choppers flying in an inverted Y formation carrying the national ensign and three service ensigns. Sixteen marching contingents from the Armed Forces, Paramilitary Forces, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS) and 13 military bands were also a part of the parade. The marching contingent of the Corps of Army Air Defence made its debut at the parade, led by Captain Vikas Kumar Sahu of Army Air Defence Centre. Indian Army Captain Tanya Shergill, who became the first woman officer as Parade Adjutant on Army Day Parade earlier this year, led an Army Signal Corps contingent.

The Indian Air Force tableau showcased scaled-down models of the Rafale aircraft, the Tejas aircraft, the Light Combat Helicopter, the Akash Missiles System and the Astra Missiles. Also on display was the Akash weapon system, the first indigenously developed air defence system capable of firing short-range surface to air missiles, against enemy platform. Among the other weapons displayed on the occasion were Dhanush Gun System and K-9 Vajra T that is a self-propelled gun, and the Sarvatra bridge system.

Republic Day 2020 Rajpath lights up with colourful tableux Chinook Apache choppers women stunt bikers and new weapons showcased

Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) contingent marches during the 71st Republic Day Parade at Rajpath. PTI

The DRDO tableau featured the Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) Weapon System, which would play a critical role in providing the necessary strategic deterrence as space becomes a vital dimension of any country's economic and military superiority. Meanwhile, the Indian Navy showcased its assets like Boeing P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft and the Kolkata Class Destroyer and the Kalvari Class submarine.

As many as 22 tableaus of various states, union territories and government departments were a part of the parade. Goa's 'save the frog' campaign, Jammu and Kashmir's 'back to village' programme and UNESCO world heritage sites in Jaipur and Gujarat and 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev were showcased among the host of tableaux. 16 tableaux were of various states and UTs and six of ministries, departments and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

Jammu and Kashmir, which participated in the parade for the first time as a Union Territory, had the ‘back to village’ programme as theme for its tableau. The programme was started last year by the Jammu and Kashmir administration and has been garnering a massive response, especially from the people in the militancy-infested areas.

The Walled City of Jaipur, which was accorded the UNESCO World Heritage tag in 2019, was the overriding theme of the Rajasthan tableau, depicting the Pink City's architecture and the state's culture reflected in its folk songs and dances.

The 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in 2019 was the theme of the Punjab's tableau in the parade. Gujarat's architectural wonder Rani Ki Vav was the centrepiece of the state's tableau, complemented with folk culture and dances performed by artistes. Rani Ki Vav or Queen's Stepwell initially built by Rani Udayamati as a memorial to her husband King Bhimdev I in the 11th century in Patan district of the state was inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014.

Telangana state's tableau depicted Bathukamma, a floral festival of the state, while Karnataka state's tableau depicted the philosophy of Basaveshwara and the concept of Anubhava Mantapa (Centre for Experience), which was the socio-religious centre that existed in the present-day Basava Kalyana of Bidar district in Karnataka.

Republic Day 2020 Rajpath lights up with colourful tableux Chinook Apache choppers women stunt bikers and new weapons showcased

Tableaus of Goa, Meghalaya and other states pass through Rajpath during the 71st Republic Day Parade. PTI

Other states which took part in the grand parade were Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. Technology and instruments used by the National Disaster Response Force during rescue operations in flood-hit areas and Delhi's Anaj Mandi fire last year were showcased in the NDRF tableau.

The 49 winners of Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2020 arrived in open jeeps at the parade. The awardees hail from various parts of the country including one each from Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh. This was followed by dance performances by school children from various parts of India.

Motorcycle stunts by an all-women team of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), including a 21-member human pyramid, was another highlight of the parade.

Republic Day 2020 Rajpath lights up with colourful tableux Chinook Apache choppers women stunt bikers and new weapons showcased

An all-women CRPF team performs stunts on motorcycles. Image courtesy: Twitter/@ANI

In the last segment of the parade, the Indian Air Force’s flypast commenced with a Trishul formation, comprising of three ALH helicopters in ‘Vic’ formation. This was the first time that a tri-service formation took part in a Republic Day parade. Five Apache helicopters then flew past in formation, followed by three Dornier aircraft in ‘Vic’ formation. Later, five Jaguar Deep penetration strike aircraft flew past in ‘Arrowhead’ formation. Three Sukhoi 30MKIs executed the 'Trishul' manoeuvre followed by a lone Sukhoi 30MKI aircraft concluding the parade with a vertical Charlie manoeuvre.

Most ministers from the Union government, including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, were present along with former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Kovind approved six Shaurya Chakras, 107 Sena Medals and four Vayu Sena medals for gallantry. He also approved five Nao Sena Medals (gallantry), four Bar to Sena Medals (devotion to duty), 36 Sena Medals (devotion to duty), eight Nao Sena Medals (devotion to duty), one Bar to Vayu Sena Medal (devotion to duty) and 13 Vayu Sena Medals (devotion to duty).

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