Before the commencement of the majestic parade on Kartavya Path, PM Narendra Modi led the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath at the National War Memorial.
For the first time in the history of India’s Republic Day, the British-era 25-pounder guns, which had been used for decades for the 21-gun salute, were replaced with the indigenous 105mm Indian Field Guns. The vintage artillery, which was once used in the World War II, fell silent and the desi guns boomed for the ceremonial gun salute. Though the 105 mm desi guns were used for the first time on Independence Day last year, this was the first time they were used on Republic Day. Also, in a first, an Egyptian President — Abdel Fattah El –Sisi — was the special guest of the parade. He came along with a contingent of the Egyptian Army personnel who were the first to march on Kartavya Path.
Lt Gen Dhiraj Seth, AVSM, General-Officer-Commanding, Delhi Area, was the parade commander. Maj Gen Bhavnish Kumar, Chief of Staff Delhi Area, was the second -in-command. President of India Droupadi Murmu, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, took the salute as Lt Gen Dhiraj Seth led the parade. The Indian Army was represented by mounted columns of 61 Cavalry, nine mechanised columns, six marching contingents and a fly past by helicopters of Army Aviation — two ALH (Dhruv) & two ALH weapon system integrated Rudra choppers.
Three Param Vir Chakra & three Ashok Chakra awardees participated in the parade. And Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar Vijetas were in open Gypsies. Returning to its old traditional route, the parade started from Vijay Chowk at 10.30 am and the contingents marched right up to Red Fort as the restrictions imposed during the Covid pandemic that led to the curtailment of the parade for some years were lifted this time.
Special features of the Republic Day parade were the participation of the 120-member military contingent from Egypt and newly-recruited Agniveers. The focus of this year’s parade was on ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ as almost all weapons systems that were showcased were indigenously made like main battle tanks Arjun MK-1, K-9 Vajra self-propelled howitzer guns, BMP, Akash missiles, BrahMos and Nag missiles. Three quick reaction fighting vehicles, two 10m short span bridges and a mobile microwave node & mobile network centre were part of the mechanised column.
Besides the mechanised and mounted columns, there were eight marching contingents of the armed forces this time. Of them, six contingents were from the Army and one each from the IAF and Navy. In all, there were 16 contingents, including from the police and paramilitary forces.
Lt Commander Disha Amrith, 29, was the first Navy woman officer to lead a naval contingent of 144 sailors, showcasing the increasing role of ‘Nari Shakti’ in the military. Armed with assault rifles, women soldiers in colourful uniforms, usually deployed along the desert border with Pakistan, were for the first time joined the BSF camel contingent. Women officers were also part of the contingents of Corps of Signals, Army Air Defence and Army Daredevils. Lt Chetna Sharma from Army Air Defence Corps saluted the supreme commander from the vehicle carrying the Akash missile defence system.
Several school boys and girls as part of the NCC and NSS marching contingents also participated in the parade
A total of 27 tableaux from various states, departments & armed forces participated. Of them, 17 were from states and UTs, and six from various ministries and departments — depicting India’s vibrant cultural heritage and economic and social progress.
The home ministry displayed two tableaux — one each by the Narcotics Control Bureau and Central Armed Police Forces — while one each was exhibited by the ministries of agriculture, tribal affairs, culture and CPWD. The theme of the DRDO tableau was “Securing Nation with Effective Surveillance, Communication and Neutralising Threats”. The Navy tableau showcased India’s first passenger drone, Varuna, which will soon be inducted into the navy.
There were fascinating cultural performances by a group of artistes selected through ‘Vande Bharatam’ competitions from across the country.
The spectators cheered a lot when a team of “Daredevils”, belonging to the Corps of Signals, showed difficult acrobatic moves on the 50 cc motorcycles running on Kartavya Path. One of the Daredevils showed his skills by climbing an over 18-foot ladder mounted on his motorcycle. The team of Daredevils was co-led by a woman officer, Lt Dimple Singh Bhati, who participated in this parade for the first time. A first-generation Army officer who hails from Jodhpur, Lt Dimple had been practising for the last one year for this today.
Corps of Signals Dare Devils team mesmerises the audience with their performance at Kartavya Path on Republic Day https://t.co/L9nHd3M8CA
— ANI (@ANI) 1674714279000
An IL-38 maritime reconnaissance aircraft, which had served the Navy for nearly 42 years, flew for the first and last time as part of the flypast. It was among the 50 aircraft that took part in the flypast.
Nine Rafale aircraft, which had been recently acquired from France, were also part of the flypast during the R-Day celebration. Four Rafales were part of the Netra formation and four others were in Vajrang formation with a C-130 aircraft, and one performed the ‘Vertical Charlie’ at the end of the flypast.
Other aerial formations during the flypast included ‘Dhawj’, ‘Rudra’, ‘Baaz’, ‘Prachand’, ‘Tiranga’, ‘Tangail’, ‘Garuda’, ‘Amrit’ and ‘Trishul’ in which other fighter and transport aircraft like Dakota, C-130 and C-17 transport planes, AEW&C, Jaguars and Su-30 MKI participated. Three MIG-29 aircraft flew over Kartavya Path when the marching contingents of the Indian Air Force went past the President.
The grand finale of the 74th Republic Day parade comprises 45 IAF aircraft, one from Indian Navy and four helicopte… https://t.co/pEPhGQa8k0
— ANI (@ANI) 1674714668000