Wednesday, February 1, 2023

India displays military might on Republic Day

India displayed its military might and vibrant cultural heritage on Rajpath on Wednesday with the grandest flypast with 75 aircraft to mark the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations being the highlight of the 73rd Republic Day Parade, which was drastically scaled down in view of the Covid pandemic.
Showcased at the parade were the Centurion tank, PT-76 tank, 75/24 Pack howitzer and OT-62 TOPAZ armoured personnel carrier that played a major role in the defeat of Pakistan in the 1971 war.
India in 2021 celebrated the Swarnim Vijay Varsh (Golden victory year) to commemorate the country’s win over Pakistan in the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh. The mechanised columns of the Army showed one PT-76 tank, one Centurion tank, two MBT Arjun MK-I tanks, one OT-62 TOPAZ armoured personnel carrier, one BMP-I infantry fighting vehicle and two BMP-II infantry fighting vehicles.
The ceremony began with Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath at the National War Memorial, a monument to the soldiers who have made supreme sacrifice for the country. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the three service chiefs were present at the solemn ceremony.
Prime Minister ditched his traditional turban look on Republic Day this year and wore a traditional cap from Uttarakhand with an image of the brahmakamal, the state flower, and also sported a stole from Manipur.
Amid COVID-19, there was no foreign chief guest at the parade for the second consecutive year.
However, Swachhagrah, frontline workers, auto rickshaw drivers, construction workers and labourers who prepared the majestic tableaus were among special guests invited this year to the parade, which started at 10:30 am, half-an-hour later than usual for better visibility.
Commanded by Lt Gen Vijay Kumar Mishra, with Maj Gen Alok Kacker as the second-in-command, the parade began with President Ram Nath Kovind taking the salute. The national flag was unfurled followed by the national anthem, synchronised with a 21-gun salute. Horse-mounted soldiers of the Indian Army’s 61 Cavalry Regiment, the only active horsed cavalry unit in the world currently, was the first marching contingent at the parade.
The parade saw the launch of ‘Shaheedon Ko Shat Shat Naman’ programme by the National Cadet Corps and a display of ten scrolls each of 75 metres prepared during the ‘Kala Kumbh’ event besides installation of 10 large LED screens for a better viewing experience of spectators.
The contingents of security forces were followed by tableaux from states that showcased India’s cultural diversity, with themes ranging from the freedom struggle to biodiversity.
A team of women daredevils from the BSF got the adrenaline rushing as they performed gravity-defying motorcycle stunts on Rajpath during the parade.
The ‘Seema Bhawani’ motorcycle team received applause and appreciation from the spectators, including several Union ministers and other dignitaries many of whom gave the women troupe a standing ovation.
The parade then saw the largest ever aerial display with 75 aircraft taking part in the majestic flypast highlighting India’s military power. This year, viewers could also see the cockpit of the aircraft on the screens at the parade venue as well as during the broadcast.
The parade ended on an emotional note as Virat, the President’s Bodyguard Commandant’s black horse, retired from his years long service after the 73rd Republic Day parade on Wednesday. President Kovind, Prime Minister Modi and Defence Minister Singh patted and bid farewell to the magnificent horse after the parade.

SourceNew Delhi
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