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Cultural heritage and military might on display at Rajpath

With showing its military might and rich cultural heritage along with the unity in diversity, the nation celebrated its 65th Republic Day amid tight security. The parade showcased India’s ‘unity in diversity’ and defence capability as thousands of spectators along the 8-km-long route cheered the contingents and the mechanised columns. 

President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Pranab Mukherjee took the salute of the parade. While the chief guest and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was also seen to keenly watching the event on Rajpath in the heart of the city on Sunday morning.

Despite the winter chill and also the coldest Republic Day in a decade at a minimum of 9.9 degrees celsius, a large number of enthusiastic people including children came to witness the parade. Minutes before the parade began, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A K Antony and chiefs of army, navy and air force laid wreaths at ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’,at the India Gate in memory of those who laid down their lives defending the frontiers of the nation. A massive ground-to-air security apparatus was put in place in the national capital to ensure an incident-free Republic Day celebrations.

The parade route was tuned into the fortress by the security forces. Snipers were deployed at all high-rises along the parade route. Around 25,000 security personnel were deployed across the city while the commandos of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Delhi Police kept vigil at important locations.

The naval submarine, the indigenous air force fighter jet, the marching contingents of the armed forces, the 162 riders of the Border Security Force performing a series of manoeuvres on 30 motorcycles, the diverse tableaux and folk dances by enthusiastic students were the main attraction of the parade.

Sukhoi-30 MKI. Similar transformation in the transport fleet of IAF from the Dakota DC-3 to the C-17 Globe Master was also shown. The navy’s tableau depicted a scaled-down model of a submarine, one of the most potent and deadly military platforms in its arsenal.

Vice President Hamid Ansari, cabinet ministers, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal were all there to mark the occasion.

Twenty of the 25 children selected for the National Bravery Award–2013 also participate in the parade. Five children were awarded posthumously. In the children’s pageant section, nearly 1,000 boys and girls drawn from four schools in Delhi and one from North-East Zonal Cultural Centre, Arunachal Pradesh, presented dances and other items. The spectators were fascinated by the air show on Indian air force aircrafts who performed amazing formations while they were flying over the saluting base. The finale to the flypast was a ‘vertical charlie’ manoeuvre by a Su-30 MKI over the saluting base.

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