Republic Day 2021: India showcases military might, cultural heritage at the parade in Rajpath

This year, the attendance to the Republic Day parade was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, for the first time in 55 years, no foreign dignitary attended the event.
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In a display of India's military might, Rafale fighter jets took part in the Republic Day flypast for the first time as the armed forces showcased its T-90 tanks, the Samvijay electronic warfare system, and Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jets on the Rajpath on Tuesday.

Depicting the nation's rich cultural heritage and economic progress, 17 tableaux from states and UTs, and nine from different union ministries and paramilitary forces took part in the 72nd Republic Day parade. Six tableaux of the defence ministry also participated in the event.

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Seventeen tableaux from various states and UTs namely, Gujarat, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Tripura, West Bengal, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, and Ladakh were showcased during the parade, depicting the geographical and rich cultural diversity of the country.

The tableaux highlighted 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, and Bhakti movement and saints of Maharashtra, among others.

School children performed folk arts and crafts, displaying skills and dexterity handed down from generations. Bajasal, a folk dance from Kalahandi in Odisha, the Fit India Movement, and Aatmanirbhar Bharat were also displayed on the Rajpath.

This year, the attendance to the Republic Day parade was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those below 15 years of age and above 65 were not allowed among the visitors at the venue.

The parade also witnessed several major changes. The contingents only marched a distance of 3.5 km instead of the usual 8.5 km, and for the first time in 55 years, no foreign dignitary attended the January 26 parade.

However, a 122-member contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces marched on Rajpath. They carried the legacy of legendary muktijoddhas of Bangladesh, who fought against "oppression and mass atrocities," and liberated the country in 1971.

At present, India is celebrating the Swarnim Vijay Varsh — the Golden Jubilee year — commemorating the country's victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.

The Indian Army showcased its main battle tank T-90 Bhishma, infantry combat vehicle BMP-II-Sarath, mobile autonomous launcher of the Brahmos missile system, multi-launcher rocket system Pinaka, and electronic warfare system Samvijay, among others during the parade.

The Indian Navy's tableaux displayed models of Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vikrant and naval operations that were conducted during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

The Indian Air Force exhibited models of light combat aircraft Tejas and indigenously developed anti-tank guided missile Dhruvastra on its tableaux during the parade. Scaled-down models of the light combat helicopter, Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jet, and Rohini radar were also part of the IAF tableaux.

A total of 38 IAF aircraft, including Rafale, and four planes of the Indian Army participated in the flypast.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) presented two tableaux, one showcasing light combat aircraft Tejas' successful take off from aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya in 2020, and another displaying full complement of the anti-tank guided missile systems.

The Republic Day parade ceremony commenced with PM Narendra Modi visiting the National War Memorial in the morning. The tricolour was unfurled followed by the National Anthem with a booming 21-gun salute. The parade commenced with President Ram Nath Kovind taking the salute.

Edited by Suman Singh

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