India showcases military might, cultural diversity at Republic Day parade

rdNEW DELHI :India’s military might, its multi-hued cultural heritage and the nation’s achievements in various fields were on display today at Rajpath, the ceremonial boulevard in the heart of Delhi, as the nation celebrated its 65th Republic Day amid tight security.
Marching down from Raisina Hills in central Delhi to the historic Mughal monument of Red Fort, the parade showcased India’s ‘unity in diversity’ and defence capabilities as thousands of spectators cheered the contingents and the mechanized columns along the 8-km-long route.
Among the proud highlights today was India’s first indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas.
The synchronised military and police contingents led by General Officer Commanding (Delhi), Lt General Subroto Mitra, marched to the tunes of bands through Rajpath where President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Pranab Mukherjee, took the salute.
The march past was watched by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the chief guest of the Republic Day celebration, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the country’s top political and military elite, besides diplomats from around the world.
Braving the winter chill, a large number of enthusiastic people came to witness the parade that culminated at the Red Fort. Minutes before the parade began, PM Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister AK Antony and chiefs of armed forces laid wreaths at ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’, the war memorial at the India Gate where an eternal flame burns 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. Snipers of National Security Guard 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 unfurling of the tricolour by the President and playing of the national anthem were followed by a customary 21-gun salute. Among others who witnessed the parade at Rajpath was Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

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