The nation celebrated the 71st Republic Day with a grand military parade and exhibition of its history, cultural diversity and strategic weaponry at the Rajpath.
Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro was the chief guest for this year’s ceremony which started with Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying tributes to martyrs at the National War Memorial.
This was the third time that a Brazilian president was the chief guest at the Republic Day.
There were several firsts in the celebration this year, including the prime minister paying homage at the National War Memorial, display of Chinook and Apache helicopters in the fly past and showcasing of the A-SAT weapons system.
Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets the crowds at Rajpath. #RepublicDay pic.twitter.com/PO8ejEeblT
— ANI (@ANI) January 26, 2020
Jammu and Kashmir, which participated in the parade for the first time as a Union Territory, had the “Back to Village” programme for displaced Kashmiri Pandits as the theme for its tableau.
The band played the national anthem with a 21-gun salute in the background when the tricolour was being unfurled at the Rajpath before the start of parade.
Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were among those who attended the celebrations.
Earlier in the day, Modi took to Twitter to extend his greetings to countrymen. “Wishing everyone a happy #RepublicDay. Jai Hind,” he tweeted.
Wishing everyone a happy #RepublicDay.
सभी देशवासियों को गणतंत्र दिवस की बहुत-बहुत बधाई।
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 26, 2020
After the Republic Day parade, he waved at the cheering crowd while walked on the Rajpath.
Twenty-two tableaux were on display during the parade, of which 16 were of various states and Union Territories and six were of ministries, departments and the National Disaster Response Force.
While Goa’s tableau highlighted its biodiversity and ‘save the frog’, its anti-frog poaching campaign, Indian Air Force’s tableau was a scaled down model of Rafale aircraft, Tejas aircraft, Light Combat Helicopters, Akash Missiles System, and Astra Missiles against a sky blue background.
The tableau of the Ministry of Jal Shakti showcased government’s new initiative “Jal Jeevan Mission” which aims to provide a functional tap connection to every rural household by 2024.