R-Day parade showcases India’s military might, cultural diversity

From this year, R-Day celebrations will be week-long, from Netaji’s birth anniversary to Gandhiji’s death anniversary


Geetanjali Minhas | January 26, 2022 | Mumbai

#Republic Day   #Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav   #culture   #Defence  
The Republic Day 2022 parade, held amid Covid-19 restrictions, remained as spectacular as ever.
The Republic Day 2022 parade, held amid Covid-19 restrictions, remained as spectacular as ever.

President Ram Nath Kovind led the Nation in celebrating the 73rd Republic Day today as part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ across the country.

The celebration saw a series of new events conceptualised by the defence ministry during the main parade on Rajpath along with ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony at Vijay Chowk on January 29.
Starting this year, Republic Day celebrations will be held through the week between January 23-30 every year. The celebrations will commence on the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on January 23 and culminate on January 30th observed as Martyrs’ Day.

Today’s main parade had several firsts including launch of ‘Shaheedon Ko Shat Shat Naman’ programme by National Cadet Corps; a grand flypast by 75 aircraft/helicopters of the Indian Air Force; cultural performances by 480 dancers selected through a nationwide Vande Bharatam dance competition; display of ten scrolls each of 75 metres prepared during the ‘Kala Kumbh’ event and installation of 10 large LED screens for a better viewing experience of spectators. A drone show by 1,000 indigenously developed drones is also planned for ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony along with projection mapping.

The parade at Rajpath started at 10.30 AM instead of the earlier timing of 10 AM for better visibility flypast.

In view of Covid-19 situation there was a reduced number of seats for spectators with prior registration on MyGov portal (https://www.mygov.in/rd2022/) for watching live celebrations online. Spectators were also able to vote for best marching contingent and tableau in popular choice category. Only double vaccinated adults/one dose vaccinated children of 15 years and above were allowed entry. Children below 15 years of age were not permitted. All social distancing norms were followed and wearing of mask is compulsory. No foreign contingent is participating in view of the pandemic.

Special arrangements were made for segments of society that do not get to watch the parade. Some sections of auto-rickshaw drivers, construction workers, safai karamcharis and frontline health workers were invited to watch the Republic Day Parade as well as the ‘Beating the Retreat’ ceremony (on Jan 29).

The Parade ceremony commenced with prime minister Narendra Modi visiting the National War Memorial. He led the nation in paying solemn tributes to the fallen heroes by laying a wreath. Thereafter, the minister and other dignitaries will head to the saluting dais at Rajpath to witness the parade.

As per tradition, the National Flag was unfurled followed by the National Anthem and a booming 21-gun salute. The parade commenced with President Ram Nath Kovind taking the salute. The parade was commanded by parade commander, Lieutenant General Vijay Kumar Mishra, Ati Vishisth Seva Medal, a second-generation Army officer. Major General Alok Kacker, Chief of Staff, Delhi Area will be the Parade Second-in-Command.

Winners of the highest gallantry awards, the Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra followed the Deputy Parade Commander on Jeeps.

The first contingent in the uniform of the erstwhile Gwalior Lancers was 61 Cavalry led by Major Mrityunjay Singh Chouhan. The 61 Cavalry is the only active serving horse cavalry regiment in the world. It was raised on August 01, 1953 with the amalgamation of six state forces’ cavalry units.

The Indian Army was represented by a Mounted Column of 61 Cavalry, 14 Mechanised Columns, six marching contingents and a fly past by Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) of Army Aviation. One Tank PT-76 & Centurion (On Tank Transporters) & two MBT Arjun MK-I, one APC TOPAS & BMP-I (On Tank Transporter) & Two BMP-II, one 75/24 Towed Gun (On Vehicle) & two Dhanush Gun System, one PMS Bridge & Two Sarvatra Bridge System, one HT-16 (On Vehicle) & two Tarang Shakti Electronic Warfare System, one Tiger Cat Missile & two Akash Missile System were the main attraction in the mechanised columns.

A total of six marching contingents of the Army were there including the Rajput Regiment, the Assam Regiment, the Jammu & Kashmir Light Regiment, the Sikh Light Regiment, the Army Ordnance Corps and the Parachute Regiment. The combined Band of the Madras Regimental Centre, the Kumoun Regimental Centre, Maratha Light Regimental Centre, Jammu & Kashmir Light Regimental Centre, Army Medical Corps Centre and School, 14 Gorkha Training Centre, Army Supply Corps Centre and College, Bihar Regimental Centre and Army Ordnance Corps Centre also marched past the saluting dais.

The Naval contingent comprised of 96 young sailors and four officers led by Lt Cdr Aanchal Sharma as Contingent Commander. It was followed by the Naval Tableau which is designed with the aim to showcase the multi-dimensional capabilities of the Indian Navy and highlight the key inductions under 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat'. The ongoing 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' also finds a special mention in the tableau.The forward part of the tableau depicts the Naval Uprising of 1946, which contributed in India's struggle for independence. The rear section illustrates the 'Make in India' initiatives of the Indian Navy from 1983 to 2021. Model of New Vikrant with LCA Navy in air flanked by models of indigenously designed and built warships. The frames on the sides of the trailer depict the construction of Indian Naval platforms in India.

The Indian Air Force contingent comprises of 96 airmen and four officers and will be led by Squadron Leader Prashant Swamyanathan. The Air Force tableau is titled ‘Indian Air Force, Transforming for the Future’. The tableau showcases scaled down models of MiG-21, Gnat, Light Combat Helicopter and Rafale aircraft, as well as the Aslesha radar.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) displayed two tableaux signifying the defence technological advancements of country. The tableaux are titled ‘Suite of Indigenously Developed Sensors, Weapons and Electronic Warfare Systems for LCA Tejas’ and ‘Air Independent Propulsion System’ developed for the submarines of Indian Navy. The first tableau displayed an indigenously-developed Advanced Electronically Scanned Array Radar; five different aerial launched weapons and an Electronic Warfare Jammer to further enhance the capabilities of fourth generation LCA (Light Combat Aircraft) Tejas. The second tableau showcases indigenously-developed AIP System for propelling the Indian Naval submarines underwater. The AIP System is powered by indigenously-developed fuel cells with a novel onboard hydrogen generator.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) contingent was led by Deputy Commandant H T Manjunath. ‘Ready, Relevant and Responsive’, the ICG, in January 2021, undertook a major fire-fighting operation ‘Sagar Aaraksha-II’ in foreign waters, to douse a major fire onboard MV X-press Pearl off Sri Lanka. The ICG ships and aircraft relentlessly fought the fire for more than 150 hours and doused it successfully to avert a major ecological disaster in the region. The motto of the ICG is ‘Vayam Rakshamah’ meaning ‘We Protect’.

The marching contingents of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) led by Assistant Commandant Ajay Malik; 15 times winner of best marching contingent, Delhi Police, led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Vivek Bhagat; Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) commanded by Assistant Commandant Mohnish Bagree; Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) led by Deputy Commandant Nirupesh Kumar and Border Security Force (BSF) Camel Contingent headed by Deputy Commandant Manohar Singh Kheechee also marched past the saluting dais.

The National Cadet Corps (NCC) Boys Marching contingent, comprising of 100 Senior Division cadets, was led by Senior Under Officer Rupendra Singh Chauhan of the Punjab Directorate. Senior Under Officer Pramila of Karnataka Directorate headed the NCC Girls Marching contingent, consisting of 100 Senior Wing Cadets drawn from all 17 Directorates. The marching contingent of National Service Scheme (NSS), comprising 100 volunteers was headed by Baraiya Siddhi Ramesh from Diu Union Territory, Ahmedabad Directorate.

This was followed by tableaux of 12 States/Union Territories and nine Ministries/Departments prepared on various themes under ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ as under:
S No    State/UT    Theme
1    Arunachal Pradesh:    Anglo-Abor (Adi) Wars
2    Haryana:    Haryana: No 1 in Sports
3    Chhattisgarh:    Godhan Nyay Yojana: A new path to prosperity
4    Goa:    Symbols of Goan heritage
5    Gujarat:    Tribal Revolutionaries of Gujarat
6    Jammu & Kashmir:    Changing face of Jammu & Kashmir
7    Karnataka:    Karnataka: The cradle of traditional handicrafts
8    Maharashtra:    Biodiversity and State Bio-symbols of Maharashtra
9    Meghalaya:    Meghalaya’s 50 years of Statehood and its tribute to Women-led cooperative societies and SHGs
10  Punjab:    Punjab’s contribution in freedom struggle
11  Uttar Pradesh:    ODOP and Kashi Vishwanath Dham
12  Uttarakhand:    Pragati Ki Aur Badhta Uttarakhand
The list of tableaux of Ministries/Departments is as under:
S No    Ministry/Department    Theme
1    Ministry of Education & Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship:    National Education Policy
2    Ministry of Civil Aviation:    UDAN - Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik
3    Ministry of Communication/Department of Posts:    India Post: 75 years @ Resolve - Women Empowerment
4    Ministry of Home Affairs (CRPF):    CRPF: Saga of Valour and Sacrifice
5    Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (CPWD):    Subhash @125
6    Ministry of Textiles:    Shuttling to the Future
7    Ministry of Law & Justice, Department of Justice:    Ek Mutthi Aasmaa: Lok Adalat, Inclusive Legal system
8    Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation:    Jal Jeevan Mission: Changing Lives
9    Ministry of Culture:    150 years of Shri Aurobindo
The tableaux were followed by cultural performances by 480 dancers chosen through an all-India dance competition ‘Vande Bharatam’. For the first time all India level dance groups will perform during the parade followed by motorcycle display, by Seema Bhawani Motorcycle Team of BSF and Himveers of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

The grand finale the Fly Past, for the first time, had 75 aircraft/helicopters of the Indian Air Force displaying a number of formations, as part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’. Vintage as well as current  modern aircraft/helicopters like Rafale, Sukhoi, Jaguar, Mi-17, Sarang, Apache and Dakota displayed different formations, including Rahat, Meghna, Eklavya, Trishul, Tiranga, Vijay and Amrit. The ceremony culminated with the national anthem and the release of Tri-colour balloons. For the first time IAF coordinated with Doordarshan to show cockpit videos during the fly past.

Other new initiatives during Republic Day included the launch of nationwide flagship programme of NCC ‘Shaheedon Ko Shat Shat Naman’ to honour the supreme sacrifices of the fallen heroes in defending the Nation, display of ten scrolls each of 75 metres in length and 15 ft in height along the Rajpath during the parade, performance of dancers selected through a nation-wide competition ‘Vande Bharatam’ and  nationwide Veer Gatha competition to motivate school students to do projects on gallantry award winners. Before commencement of the parade contingents of Central Armed Police Forces undertook static band performances in the seating enclosures at Rajpath. 10 large LED screens – five on each side of Rajpath were installed.

The 'Beating the Retreat' ceremony three days later will have a drone show with around 1,000 drones fabricated through indigenous technology and synchronised background music. The ceremony will also have projection mapping show of about 3-4 minutes on the walls of North and South Block.



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