Republic Day celebrations: India's cultural diversity and military might on display

The Indian national flag flies high during the 71st Republic Day celebration at Rajpath in New Delhi on Sunday   -  PTI

3 PM

 

The Foreign Ministers of the Maldives and Lithuania congratulated India on the occasion of 71th Republic Day. Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid took to Twitter to extend greetings on the occasion, saying may the special friendship between the two countries continue to prosper. “Republic Day greetings to the government and people of India. May the special friendship between the Maldives and India continue to prosper,” Shahid said.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius posted his congratulatory message on Twitter in Hindi. “I heartily congratulate the people of India on Republic Day. I am very pleased with the powerful and dynamic bilateral relations and cultural and spiritual ties between Lithuania and India,” Linkevicius said, extending warm greetings to his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar and the people of India.

Responding to the two leaders, Jaishankar thanked them for their warm wishes in separate messages. “Thank you minister Linkevicius for the warm wishes. Look forward to continue working with you to further build on our close ties,” he said on the micro-blogging site.

“Appreciate the Republic Day greetings FM @abdulla_shahid,” Jaishankar said in a separate tweet to his Maldivian counterpart.

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday thanked the president of Maldives and the prime minister of Sri Lanka for their Republic Day greetings, saying New Delhi cherished the deep-rooted friendship with the two countries.

Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih also wished India on the occation. "Warm greetings and felicitations to President Kovind, PM Narendra Modi and the friendly people of India on India’s 71st Republic Day," he said in a tweet. Responding to the tweet, PM Modi wrote on Twitter, "Thank you the greetings on India’s Republic Day, President @ibusolih. It is a matter of immense delight that friendship between India and Maldives is getting even stronger, benefiting the people of our nations.”

Sri Lankan PM Mahindra Rajapaksa said he participated in a cultural event organised by the Indian High Commission in Colombo on Saturday. Modi, in a tweet, said, "“India cherishes the deep rooted friendship with Sri Lanka.”

2 PM

 

Daredevil stunts performed by police personnel on motorcycles and horses, tableaux showing achievements of Gujarat and cultural events marked the state’s 71st Republic Day event held at Rajkot in Saurashtra on Sunday. State Governor Acharya Devvrat, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, ministers and various officials were present at the function held at the Racecourse Ground.

A large number of people were present to witness the event held in the morning.

After unfurling the tricolour, the Governor inspected the guard of honour in an open jeep, with Rupani accompanying him. The Governor received salute from 28 platoons.

As many as 922 policemen took part in the event along with the platoons of Indian Army, Indian Coast Guard, police commandos, and state reserve police jawans, among others.

Teams of policemen and policewomen performed daredevil stunts on motorcycles and horses. School students presented various cultural programmes.

Tableux showcasing the achievements of the state were also part of the parade. Talking to reporters later, Rupani said, “Parade, cultural events and stunts by police were part of the Republic Day function in Rajkot. It was celebrated in a very enthusiastic way.”

The Republic Day was also celebrated with fervour in other parts of the state. A group of senior citizens and children unfurled the tricolour by standing in sea water off Porbandar coast, while students of Jamnagar took out a ‘tiranga yatra’ holding 111- metre long national flag. Political parties also celebrated the day at their party headquarters in the state.

1:40 PM

 

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath said that connecting people’s hearts is the culture of India as well as Congress, and those trying to go against it and the Constitution will be dealt with firmly.

His statement comes amid protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). “There is no country in the world like India, which has so much of diversity. We have so many religions, castes, languages and festival. We have unity in diversity, which is the result of the culture of brotherhood. It is because of that, India stands united under one flag,” Nath said.

The Chief Minister was speaking after unfurling the tricolour at his party’s office here as part of the Republic Day celebrations. “The Congress’s culture is also to bind people. We connect the hearts of people and the society. This is the culture of India...We make a resolution to firmly take on those who try to go against our culture and the Constitution,” he said.

He also urged his partymen to make a resolution to always uphold and foster the culture of brotherhood.

“The Congress has a history of making sacrifices. We are ready to make sacrifices today. The challenges that we are facing today, we have been facing such challenges since the last 70 years,” the former Union minister added. We are going to fight these challenges tooth and nail in future as well,” he said.

1:30 PM

 

Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi inspects a Guard of Honour during the Republic Day parade in Guwahati   -  PTI

 

Assam govt committed to rights of indigenous people: Governor, Jan 26 (PTI) The Assam government is fully committed to the rights of indigenous people who will get Constitutional safeguard after a designated committee submits its report very soon, said on Sunday.

Hoisting the National Flag in Guwahati, Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi said the State government "is fully committed to the rights of the indigenous people of Assam". He said that the State will work on total implementation of Assam Accord’s Clause 6.

The government has constituted a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Gauhati High Court retired judge Biplab Sharma and “highly respected and erudite” personalities have been included in it, he informed. “Assam will benefit from their knowledge and experience. This committee will submit its report to the government very soon. After that, Assamese people will get Constitutional safeguard and their political, cultural and linguistic rights will be protected forever,” he added.

The Governor also said that the Assam government has already requested the Centre to declare Assamese as the permanent state language. “We have prepared a new land policy. With this policy, the land rights of Assam’s indigenous people will be secured. The work to give land pattas to landless families have begun and we will complete distributing land pattas to one lakh landless people very soon,” he added.

Mukhi further said that to implement the Assam Accord properly, concrete steps have been taken to seal the Indo-Bangla border and the remaining open portion will be sealed very soon. “This will completely stop illegal immigration,” he said without mentioning anything about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in his speech.

The government is determined to make Assam extremist-free, Mukhi said. “On January 23, 644 members of eight organisations, including ULFA and NDFB, surrendered. We appeal to all organisations to adopt the path of peace. It is essential to have permanent peace,” he added.

 

1 PM

 

Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya unfurled the tricolour at the parade ground in Dehradun to mark the 71st Republic Day. Maurya also watched a ceremonial joint parade by the security forces including police, the ITBP and the NCC besides around a dozen tableaux presented by different departments and colourful dance performances by school children.

Notable tableaux included the ones presented by the Mussoorie-Dehradun Development Authority, the State Disaster Response Force, the Tourism and Culture department, the Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency and the Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority.

Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat attended a photo exhibition put up at the parade ground showcasing the development work done by the state government in the last three years. Rawat also met the freedom fighters who attended the function.

In Jharkhand, Governor Droupadi Murmu Unfurling the national flag at the Mohrabadi ground in Ranchi. He said that all the people will be taken along in the states development endeavour. “To bring Jharkhand in the category of the developed states in the country, everyone has to discharge ones role, keeping the state and the nation on top,” she said.

Murmu said 65 per cent of the population is the youth and unemployment is a burning issue. The government will soon fill up vacancies from panchayat to state level departments, she said. “The youth will be trained and will be provided self-employment opportunities. So also, women will be empowered,” the governor said.

She said the government will strengthen the tribal tradition of self-rule and the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act will be strictly implemented.

Chief Minister Hemant Soren hoisted the tricolour in Dumka, the State's second capital city. Speaking at the ceremony, Soren said, “The Constitution is not just a document but the medium of life and the state government will work with sensitivity and without any discrimination.”

Expressing pain at the recent incidents at West Singhbhum district and Lohardaga, Soren called upon the people to assist in the development of the state, rising above religion and language as the Constitution gives the right to everyone to live equally. “The government will not bow before ‘bhid tantra’ (mobocracy),” he said, adding, “We are first, Indian irrespective of religion or language...Let us create a Jharkhand where there will also be all-round development of tribals, Dalits, the poor, the deprived, the backward and the minority."

12:30 PM

 

In Tamil Nadu, Governor Banwarilal Purohit led the 71st Republic Day celebrations, unfurling the national flag at the Marina in Chennai.

An impressive march past by the members of the Armed Forces, state police, scouts and guides was held on the occasion. A pageantry of floats by government departments highlighting various initiatives, including Chief Minister K Palaniswami’s 2019 tri-nation visit to attract investments, was among the highlights. Students and artistes presented colourful dance performances.

CM Palaniswami presented various awards, including the Anna Gallantry medals for police personnel. Besides Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, State Ministers and officials participated in the event.

Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi gives an award to the India Reserve Battalion for the best passing out parade during the republic day celebrations.   -  The Hindu

 

Meanwhile, in Puducherry, Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi, in her Republic Day address, said the law and order situation in the Union Territory remained “well under control” due to efficient policing and “swift measures” to control crime rate. “The government will carry forward people-friendly policies and programmes for the prosperity, welfare and progress of people of Puducherry,” she assured.

An elaborate plan had been drawn up to meet the growing demand of power supply and to provide qualitative and uninterrupted power supply to all sections of consumers, she said adding Rs 1,468.35 crore had been earmarked in the budget during 2019-20.

Integrated power development schemes to strengthen the distribution systems had been implemented along with other the flagship programmes such as Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, UJALA and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana, she said.

Highlighting the achievements of various departments, Bedi said the infant mortality rate in Puducherry was 10 per 1,000 live births against the national average of 34 per 1000 live births.

Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, his cabinet colleagues, Members of Parliament, legislators and officials were among those present at the celebration.

After inspecting a guard of honour presented by the Puducherry police, the Lt Governor distributed medals to meritorious police officials. Bedi, a former IPS officer, also presented trophies and mementos to schools for their outstanding performance in public examinations. She took salute at a march past presented by various contingents, including police, ex-servicemen, school children and scouts, at the celebration. Government departments presented tableaux highlighting their achievements.

 

12:15 PM

 

The Repulic Day was also celebrated with much fanfare across the nation. In Kolkata, West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar lead the celebration. Here are some photos from the event.

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar at the Republic Day parade in Kolkata   -  Debasish Bhaduri

The Republic Day parade in Kolkata.   -  Debasish Bhaduri

School children perform at the Republic Day celebrations in Kolkata   -  Debasish Bhaduri

 

 

11:20 AM

 

Republic day Chief Guest Brazil's President Jair Messias Bolsonaro and Prime Minister Narendra Modi watch the manoeuvre of IAF aircrafts during the 71st Republic Day Parade at Rajpath, in New Delhi on Sunday.   -  PTI

 

 

The fly-past is underway.

The first formation is the ‘Trishul’ formation, by three advanced light helicopters. It is for the first-ever ‘tri-service formation’ in the Republic Day Parade. It is followed by the ‘Vic’ formation of Chinook helicopters, used for airlifting diverse loads to remote locations.

Apache helicopters, Dornier aircraft, C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, an Airborne Early Warning and Control System aircraft and the ‘Globe’ formation comprising three C-17 Globemasters is next.

Five Jaguar Deep penetration strike aircraft and five MiG-29 upgrade air superiority fighters in ‘Arrowhead’ formation will also display their aerial manoeuvre. The parade will culminate with a fleet of Sukhoi-30 MKI jets splitting the sky with a breathtaking ‘Vertical Charlie’ aerobatic manoeuvre.

 

 

11:15 AM

 

21 women bikers of the CRPF perform a daredevil stunt during the 71st Republic Day Parade at Rajpath in New Delhi.

 

The CRPF contingent display their skills on the motorcycle.

 

 

11 AM

Now, school children from across the nation, perform various dances to show the artistic diversity of the nation.

10:40 AM

To showcase the cultural diversity of India, tableaux from various States are a part of the parade. Chhattisgarh is the first State to showcase its culture. Tamil Nadu, which is showcasing the village life, is next. Assam, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh follow. Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka will also be part of the parade.

Artists rehearse in front of the tableaux from Assam ahead of the forthcoming Republic Day function, Wednesday, January 22, 2020.   -  PTI

 

 

Chhattisgarh tableaux artists rehearse ahead of the Republic Day function, in New Delhi, Wednesday, January 22, 2020.   -  PTI

Panjab will mark the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev with its tableaue parade. Kirat Karo, Naam Japo and Vand Chhako, which form the cornerstone of Sikhism, are depicted in panels.

Gujarat’s architectural wonder Rani Ki Vav will be the centrepiece of the state’s tableau, complemented with folk culture and dances performed by artistesThe site became an UNESCO World Heritage in 2014. The Jammu & Kashmir tableau showcases the rich sartorial and cultural heritage of the region with a shawl weaver being depicted in the front. The flora and fauna will be shown in the middle complemented with the Dogra and Kashmiri folk culture.

 

10:30 AM

 

The Naval contingent comprise of 144 young sailors led by Lieutenant Jitin Malkat. It will be followed by the Naval Tableau titled ‘Indian Navy - Silent, Strong, and Swift’.

The Indian Air Force contingent marches at Rajpath in New Delhi (File photo)   -  PTI

 

The Air Force contingent, comprising of 144 air warriors, is led by Flight Lt Shrikant Sharma. The Air Force tableau showcases scaled down models of the Rafale aircraft, the Tejas aircraft, the Light Combat helicopter, the Akash missiles system and the Astra missiles.

The DRDO displayed its Anti-Satellite Weapon.

 

 

10:15 AM

Parade starts

The Republic Day parade starts. The armed forces — Army, Air Force and Navy — are the first to showcase its might. Each one of the branches of the forces have their own tableaux.

PTI reports that anti-satellite weapon Shakthi, Army’s battle tank Bhishma, infantry combat vehicles and newly inducted Chinook and Apache helicopters of the Indian Air Force will be part of the grand military parade.

The first contingent in the uniform of the erstwhile Gwalior Lancers will be 61 Cavalry. The 61 Cavalry is the only active serving horse cavalry regiment in the world. It was raised on August 1, 1953 with the amalgamation of six state forces’ cavalry units.

The Indian Army will be represented by a mounted column of 61 Cavalry, eight mechanised columns, six marching contingents and fly-past by Rudra and Dhruv Advanced Light helicopters of the army aviation wing.

The ‘Dhanush’ gun system, commanded by Capt. Mrigank Bharadwaj, was part of the Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath for the first time on Sunday. The 155mm/45 Caliber Dhanush gun system is a towed Howitzer designed indigenously by the Ordnance Factory Board. The gun with a maximum range of 36.5 km has the capability of automatic gun alignment and positioning.

The gun, which is equipped with inertial navigation system and advanced gun sighting system, has been designed to meet futuristic requirements of the Army.

Other indigenously-developed Main Battle Tank of the Indian Army, T-90 Bhishma tank, infantry combat vehicle Ballway Machine Pikate, K-9 Vajra and Dhanush guns, transportable satellite terminal and Akash weapon system were also on display.

The Parachute regiment, the Grenadiers regiment, the Sikh Light Infantry regiment, the Kumaon regiment and the Corps of Signals were also part of the contingent.

 

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10 AM

National flag unfurled

President Kovind and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, the Chief Guest, arrive at Rajpath.  Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Sigh are also present. President Kovind unfurls the national flag.

Prime Minister Nardera Modi at the Republic day celebrations in New Delhi   -  Kamal Narang

 

 

 

Former PM Dr Manmohan Singh, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and other dignitaries are present at the venue.

9:50 AM

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to the fallen soldiers at the newly-built National War Memorial here on the Republic Day for the first time instead of the Amar Jawan Jyoti beneath the India Gate arch.

The memorial in the India Gate complex behind the canopy was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 25 last year.

 

Amar Jawan Jyoti is symbolised by an inverted bayonet and soldier’s helmet over it with an eternal flame burning beside it. It was built in 1972 underneath the India Gate arch to commemorate soldiers martyred in the Indo-Pak War of 1971.

Spread over an area of approximately 40 acres, National War Memorial comprises four concentric circles, namely -- the ‘Amar Chakra’, ‘Veerta Chakra’, ‘Tyag Chakra’ and the ‘Rakshak Chakra’ with names of 25,942 soldiers inscribed in golden letters on granite tablets.

It also includes a central 15.5-m obelisk, an eternal flame and six bronze murals depicting famous battles fought by the Indian Army, Air Force and the Navy in a covered gallery (Veerta Chakra).

The memorial is dedicated to soldiers killed during the Indo-China War in 1962, Indo-Pak Wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971, Indian Peace Keeping Force Operations in Sri Lanka and in the Kargil Conflict in 1999, and also those in the UN peacekeeping missions.

The 42 m-high India Gate was built during the British Raj as the All India War Memorial Arch to honour the soldiers who died in the First World War (1914-1918) and the Third Anglo-Afghan War (1919). The landmark has the names of soldiers inscribed on its surface.

 

9 AM

 

Ground-to-air security cover in New Delhi

As the nation prepares to celebrate the 71st Republic Day, Delhi has been put under a multi-layered, ground-to-air security cover with thousands of armed personnel keeping a tight vigil over it, including Rajpath, the celebration venue.

Aided by dozens of drones in the air and hundreds of CCTV cameras and facial recognition devices, besides several anti-aircraft guns on the ground, the security personnel are keeping a hawk-eyed vigil over Rajpath, where President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be celebrating the occasion along with chief guest, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and other dignitaries, besides thousands of citizens.

Over ten thousand security personnel have been deployed to keep vigil over the Republic Day celebrations on Sunday, said officials.

Sharpshooters and snipers have been deployed atop high-rise buildings to keep watch on the 8 km long parade route from Rajpath to the Red Fort, they said.

The celebration venue Rajpath will remain inaccessible to general traffic till 12 noon, till when the entry and exit gates of the Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan, Patel Chowk and Lok Kalyan Marg metro stations too will remain closed, beginning from 8.45 am.

The Delhi police has also installed its facial recognition devices at all entry gates of the R-Day celebration venue to identify miscreants and suspects, said officials.

Special security arrangements have been made for Brazilian President Bolsonaro, who is the chief guest for the Republic Day parade, Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Eish Singhal had said earlier.

More than 2,000 Traffic Police personnel have been deployed to ensure smooth flow of the traffic and facilitate spectators reach the venue. Hundreds of CCTV cameras too have been installed as part of the security arrangements, including at least 150 cameras in areas covering the Red Fort, Chandni Chowk and Yamuna Khadar, they said.

“We have a four-layered security arrangement. Inner, middle, outer and one along the border areas across the national capital,” said Singhal, adding drones have also been deployed to aid and assist security personnel on the ground and give feed to them on the general and security scenario around them. “Around 5,000 to 6,000 Delhi police personnel have been deployed in the New Delhi district along with 50 companies of paramilitary forces,” he added.

The police have already been undertaking various security measures, including the anti-terror ones, like checking people and vehicles entering Delhi, intensified patrolling of malls and markets and enhancing security cover of vital installations, besides intensifying the regular verifications of tenant and servants, the officials said.

The police have also asked hotels, taxi and auto drivers to remain alert. In view of the heightened security, patrolling in public places has been intensified.

Apart from securing the celebration venue Rajpath, adequate security and traffic arrangements for the ‘At Home’ function at Rashtrapati Bhavan too have been made.

The security personnel have identified vulnerable spots such as crowded markets, railway stations, bus stands and other high-value establishments, where extra police personnel have been deployed.

A traffic advisory has also been issued about the elaborate arrangement route diversions on Sunday, as per which no traffic was allowed on Rajpath from Vijay Chowk to India Gate since 6 pm on Saturday, the officials said, adding the ban will continue till the parade gets over on Sunday.

Flying of sub-conventional aerial platforms like para-gliders, para-motors, unmanned aerial vehicles, microlight aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft, hot air balloons, small-size powered aircraft, quadcopters or para jumping from aircraft have been prohibited over the jurisdiction of the city till February 15, according to an advisory.

It has also asked people to report to the nearest police station in case they see any unidentified object or suspicious person.

8:50 AM

 

President's Address

Addressing the nation on the eve of the 71st Republic Day President Ram Nath Kovind said India must strive to reach global education standards by continuous reform of its educational system. He said this is required even as the country's achievements in the field of education had followed a remarkable trajectory since Independence and in an environment of scarcity of resources.

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(With inputs from PTI)

Published on January 26, 2020