India’s military might, cultural diversity, social and economic progress will be on display today, during the 72nd Republic Day celebrations at the majestic Rajpath in New Delhi. Representing India’s strides in indigenous defence technologies, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) contingent this year consists of two tableaux depicting among others Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)—Navy—take off from INS Vikramaditya. Indian Army will display main battle tank T-90 Bhishma, Infantry Combat Vehicle Ballway Machine Pikate (BMP-II)—Sarath, Mobile Autonomous Launcher of the Brahmos Missile system, Pinaka Multi Launcher Rocket System and Samvijay Electronic Warfare System among others. Indian Navy in addition to tableaux murals depicting Pakistan Army surrendering, a Petya class ship and Operation X undertaken by divers of Indian Navy and Mukti Bahini and some other ships which took part in the 1971 India-Pakistan War. The Indian Air Force (IAF) will showcase among others Mi-17 V5, Chinook and Apache helicopters.
Thirty-two tableaux—17 from states and Union Territories, nine from various ministries/departments and paramilitary forces and six from the Ministry of Defence, depicting the nation’s rich cultural heritage, economic progress and defence prowess—will roll down the Rajpath. School children will perform folk arts and crafts displaying skills and dexterity handed down from generations; Bajasal, one of the most beautiful folk dances of Kalahandi, Odisha; Fit India Movement, Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
The 122-member proud contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces comprising soldiers of the Bangladesh Army, sailors of the Bangladesh Navy and Air Warriors of the Bangladesh Air Force will lead the contingent march on the Rajpath. The Bangladesh contingent will carry the legacy of legendary Muktijoddhas of Bangladesh, who fought against oppression and mass atrocities and liberated Bangladesh in 1971. The grand event will culminate with Rafale aircraft flying at a speed of 900 kilometre per hour carrying out a ‘Vertical Charlie’.
The Republic Day Parade ceremony will commence with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the National War Memorial. He will lead the nation in paying solemn tributes to the fallen heroes by laying a wreath. Thereafter, the Prime Minister and other dignitaries will head to the saluting dais at Rajpath to witness the parade. As per tradition, the National Flag will be unfurled followed by the National Anthem with a booming 21-gun salute. The parade will commence with President Ram Nath Kovind taking the salute. The parade will be commanded by Parade Commander, Lieutenant General Vijay Kumar Mishra, General Officer Commanding Delhi Area. Major General Alok Kacker, Chief of Staff, Delhi Area will be the Parade Second-in-Command.
The proud winners of the highest gallantry awards will follow. They include the winners of the Param Vir Chakra and the Ashok Chakra. Param Vir Chakra winners Subedar Major Yogendra Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers and Subedar Sanjay Kumar, 13 JAK Rifles and Ashok Chakra winner Lieutenant Colonel D Sreeram Kumar will follow the Deputy Parade Commander on Jeeps. The Param Vir Chakra is awarded for the most conspicuous act of bravery and self-sacrifice in the face of the enemy. The Ashok Chakra is awarded for similar acts of valour and self-sacrifice but, other than, in the face of the enemy.
The first domestic contingent in the uniform of the erstwhile Gwalior Lancers will be 61 Cavalry led by Captain Deepanshu Sheoran. 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 will be represented by a Mounted Column of 61 Cavalry, seven mechanised columns, six marching contingents and fly-past by Rudra and Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters of the Army Aviation. Indigenously-developed Main Battle Tank of the Indian Army, T-90 Bhishma, Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV) Ballway Machine Pikate (BMP II)-, Brahmos Weapon System, Pinaka Bridge Laying tanks T-72, Samvijay Electronic Warfare System and Schilka Weapon system will be the main attraction in the mechanised columns. The other marching contingents of the Army will include the Jat Regiment, the Garhwal Regiment, the Mahar Regiment, the Jammu & Kashmir Rifles Regiment, the Bengal Sappers and the Territorial Army. The Combined Band of the Mechanised Infantry Regimental Centre, Para Regimental Centre & JAT Regimental Centre; Sikh Regimental Centre, Assam Regimental Centre, Jammu & Kashmir Rifles Regimental Centre; Sikh Light Infantry Regimental Centre, Ladakh Scouts Regimental Centre and Artillery Centre (Nasik Road) will also march past the saluting dais.
The Naval contingent will consist of 96 sailors and 04 officers led by Lieutenant Commander Lalit Kumar as Contingent Commander. It will be followed by the Naval Tableau titled ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’. The fore part of the tableau showcases the Indian Navy’s attack on Karachi harbour on the night of 4-5 December 1971 by missile boats. On the sides of the tractor, the route taken by the attacking units will be depicted. The Air Force contingent, consisting of 96 airmen and four officers, will be led by Flight Lieutenant Tanik Sharma. It will be followed by the Air Force Tableau titled ‘Indian Air Force: Touch the Sky with Glory’. The Air Force tableau showcases scaled down models of Light Combat Aircraft, Light Combat Helicopter, Su-30 MK-I aircraft and Rohini radar against a sky-blue background. The smartly attired officers in their flying overalls will stand alongside the models.
One of the main highlights will be the marching contingent of DRDO that will showcase Anti-Tank Guided Missile systems, which play a crucial role in defeating armoured tanks. The operability of the missile from a tank is a key feature and challenging task in modern armoured warfare. The ATGMs Tableau of DRDO is showing full-scale models of Nag, HELINA, MPATGM, Sant and Laser Guided ATGM missiles. The Indian Coast Guard marching contingent will be led by Deputy Commandant Ashish Nagar. The motto of the ICG is ‘Vayam Rakshamah’ meaning ‘We Protect’. The Indian Coast Guard keeps our maritime frontiers safe and secure. The force comprises 155 surface units and 62 air assets. The contingents of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Delhi Police, Border Security Force (BSF) Camel Contingent and National Security Guard (NSG) popularly known as the Black Cat Commandos will also march past the saluting dais. The National Cadet Corps (NCC) Boys Marching contingent will be led by Commander Senior Under Officer Ranjeet Singh Gurjar of NCC Directorate Rajasthan, while the Girls contingent will be headed by Senior Under Officer Samruddhi Harshal Sant of NCC Directorate, Maharashtra. The National Service Scheme (NSS) contingent comprising 100 volunteers will also take part led by Shri Abhijit Bhuin from West Bengal Directorate. The Massed Pipes and Drums Band of the Indian Army will also be on display.
Seventeen tableaux from various states/Union Territories, namely, Gujarat, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Tripura, West Bengal, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Ladakh will be showcased during the parade, depicting the geographical and rich cultural diversity of the country.
These tableaux will be the ‘Vision’ for Ladakh to be Carbon neutral, the Sun Temple at Modhera in Mehsana district of Gujarat, ‘Tea-tribes’ of Assam, ‘Shore Temple’ and other monuments of Pallava dynasty in Tamil Nadu, ‘Bhakti Movement’ & Saints of Maharashtra, ‘Dev Bhoomi’—the Land of the Gods, Kedarnath, Splendorous Sounds of Chhattisgarh’s Folk Music, 400th Birth Anniversary of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, promotion of eco-friendly tradition for achieving self-reliance (Aatmanirbhar) in Tripura, Sabooj Sathi—Wheels of Change in West Bengal, Pang Lhabsol Festival of Sikkim, Ayodhya: Cultural Heritage of Uttar Pradesh, Redevelopment of Shahjahanabad in Old Delhi, Vijayanagara—The city of Victory, Coir of Kerala, Lepakshi—Architectural Monolithic Marvels of Andhra Pradesh and East meets West theme of Arunachal Pradesh.
Nine tableaux from different ministries/departments and paramilitary forces will also be on display, showcasing Digital Bharat, Aatmanirbhar Bharat, Four Labour Codes that depict the guiding philosophy of ‘Mehnat ek Samaan, Adhikar ek Samaan’, One Nation, One Sign Language, Ojo Bharat, Tejo Bharat: Immune India, Active India, CRPF: A Professional Ops Force with Humane Sensitivity, Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan: COVID, Samudra Prahri Indian Coast Guard, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s New India: ‘Vocal for Local’, Border Roads Organisation: Connecting Places, Connecting People, ‘Amar Jawan’ and Heralding 75th Year of Indian Independence.
This year’s children’s pageant will consist of around 400 participants. The colourful cultural show will be performed by Delhi Tamil Association Schools depicting Tamil Nadu Folk Dance, Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Yamuna Vihar, Delhi staging Hum Fit Toh India Fit, Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, Kolkata showcasing Bajasal – one of the most beautiful folk dances of Kalahandi, Odisha and Mount Abu Public School & Vidya Bharti School, Rohini, Delhi presenting Aatmanirbhar Bharat—the Vision for a Self-reliant India.
The grand finale and the most keenly awaited segment of the parade, the Fly Past, will consist of the Rudra Formation comprising a Dakota aircraft flanked by two Mi-17 IV helicopters flying in ‘Vic’ formation, followed by the Sudarshan formation consisting of one Chinook and two Mi-17 IV Helicopters in ‘Vic’ formation. Rakshak attack helicopter formation consisting of one Mi-35 helicopter and four Apache helicopters in ‘Vic’ formation will come next. Bhim formation consisting of three C-130J aircraft in ‘Vic’ formation will then rule the sky. Behind Bhim’s formation will be Netra, the ‘Eye in the Sky’. It is an indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft with state of art Early Warning radar and a host of advanced Electronic Warfare equipment, all indigenously designed and developed by DRDO. It will be followed by Garuda formation consisting of one C-17 Globemaster with two MiG-29s & two Su-30 MKI aircraft in ‘Vic’ formation. The C-17 is a heavy lift; long range strategic airlift aircraft. Induction of C-17 aircraft has changed the dynamics of strategic mobility and reach of the Air Force.
The next formation will be one of the awaited attractions of the event, one Rafale with two Jaguar Deep penetration strike aircraft and two MiG-29 Air Superiority Fighters in ‘Vic’ formation at the height of 300 metre and a speed of 780 kilometre per hour. It will be followed by the Trinetra formation comprising three Su-30MKIs and the penultimate formation will be Vijay comprising three Advance Light Helicopters which are part of the acclaimed Sarang Display Team of the IAF. The penultimate culmination of the parade will be a single Rafale aircraft flying at a speed of 900 kilometre per hour carrying out a ‘Vertical Charlie’. The aircraft will be piloted by Group Captain Harkirat Singh, Shaurya Chakra, Commanding Officer of 17 Squadron with Squadron Leader Kislaykant. The craft will go up vertically carrying out a series of rolls and giving a befitting salute to the motto of the Indian Air Force ‘Nabha Sparshan Deeptam’. The ceremony will culminate with the national anthem and the release of Tri-colour balloons.