January 26, 1950 was a momentous day, which seldom comes in the life of a nation. This day our beloved motherland shed the last relic of colonial system and effected a new dawn by becoming a sovereign democratic republic. The first President of India took oath of office and we Bhartiya people heralded a new era for this great ancient civilisation. It has been quite a journey since then. Tomorrow will also be a very special day when the proud nation would be celebrating 70th Republic Day. The main colourful celebration would be held at the historic Rajpath where President Shri Ram Nath Kovind will be hosting President of Republic of South Africa and Supreme Commander of the South African National Defence Force Mr Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa.
India and South Africa enjoy unique relationship underpinned by shared values and common principles. This year we are celebrating 150th year of birth of greatest saint of 20th Century, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, whom we all fondly call the Mahatma. Underlining theme of this year’s Republic Day Celebration is the great man himself. His 21-year stay in South Africa played a pivotal role in moulding him into the Apostle of Peace. His transformation is best described by one of the greatest men of the 20th Century, anti-apartheid crusader and first President of all-encompassing new South Africa, Dr Nelson Mandela. He said, “You gave us Mohandas Gandhi; we returned him to you as Mahatma Gandhi.”
The Republic Day Parade Ceremony will commence with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi leading the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti under India Gate. An eternal flame burns at the Amar Jawan Jyoti to commemorate the indomitable courage of our Armed Forces personnel who have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the motherland. It is symbolised by a reversed rifle standing on its barrel and crested by a soldier’s helmet.
This year all women marching contingent of the Assam Rifles will be taking part for the first time. Major Khusboo Kanwar is leading the contingent. The ‘Sentinels of the North-East’ took active part in all pre and post-Independence wars. The ‘Friends of the Hill People’ are also custodians of law and order and guardians of our borders. They were effectively involved in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir. Raised as the ‘Cacher Levy’, the force completes 183 years of glorious service to the Nation.
As per tradition, after unfurling the National Flag, the national anthem will be played with a 21 gun salute. The parade will then commence and the President will take the salute. The parade will be commanded by Lieutenant General Asit Mistry, General Officer Commanding, Headquarters Delhi Area. Major General Rajpal Punia, Chief of Staff, Headquarters Delhi Area will be the parade Second-in-Command. The proud winners of the highest gallantry awards will be followed by him. They include the winners of the Param Vir Chakra and the Ashok Chakra. Param Vir Chakra winners Subedar Major & Honorary Captain Bana Singh (Retd), Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers and Subedar Sanjay Kumar, 13 JAK Rifles and Ashok Chakra winners Major General Cyrus A Pithawalla (Retd), Colonel Jasbir Singh Raina (Retd), Lieutenant Colonel Jas Ram Singh, (Retd), Lieutenant Colonel D Sreeram Kumar, Naib Subedar (Honorary) Chhering Mutup (Retd), Shri Govind Singh of District Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh and Shri Bhure Lal of District Guna, Madhya Pradesh 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.
This year veterans of Indian National Army (INA) who fought valiantly against the imperial forces will also take part in Republic Day Parade. They will be Shri Parmanand, Shri Lalti Ram, Shri Hira Singh and Shri Bhagmal.
The first contingent in the uniform will be of the erstwhile Gwalior Lancers is 61 Cavalry led by Major Apurva Dabhade. The 61 Cavalry is the only active serving horse Cavalry Regiment in the world. The Regiment was raised on 01 August 1953, with the amalgamation of six State Forces’ Cavalry Units.
Main Battle Tank of the Indian Army, T- 90 Bhishma, Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV) Ballway Machine Pikate (BMP-II/IIK), Surface Mine Clearing System (SMCS), K-9 Vajra-T, M 777 A2 Ultra Light Howitzer (ULH), Transportable Satellite Terminal (TST), Akash weapon system, will be the main draw in the mechanised columns.
The other marching contingents of the Army to include the Madras Regiment, the Rajputana Rifles, the Sikh Regiment, the Gorkha Brigade, the Army Service Corps, , the 102 Infantry Battalion (Territorial Army) Punjab followed by the the Veterans’ Tableau, which will mark of recognition and respect to the soldier’s selfless service to the nation. It will showcase the theme, ‘Veterans: Accelerators in Nation’s Growth’. The Combined Band of the Sikh Light Infantry, Mahar Regimental Centre and Ladakh Scouts will be playing the tune ‘Shankhnaad’ for the first time in the Parade.
The Naval Contingent will comprise of 144 young sailors led by Lieutenant Commander Ambika Sudhakarn as Contingent Commander. It will be followed by Naval tableau titled, ‘Indian Navy – Combat Ready Force for National Security’, which will proudly illustrate the combat potential of the multi-dimensional Indian Navy of the 21st Century.
The Air Force Marching Contingent also comprises 144 air warriors. The air warriors will be marching with rifles in ‘Bagal shashtra’, while the pistols of the officers will be secured in their holsters. It will be followed the Air Force Tableau titled ‘Indian Air Force Encouraging Indigenisation’ showcasing the scaled-down models of the aircraft, radar and missile system which have been indigenously designed and manufactured. The models displayed will be Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Low-Level Light Weight Radar (LLLWR), Sukhoi-30MKI and Akash Missile System.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will be displaying Medium range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM). This System is an Air and Missile Defence (AMD) system intended for the protection of own territories and ground forces against attacks by enemy aircraft and guided weapons. In addition to this, DRDO will also showcase Arjun Armoured Recovery and Repair Vehicle (Arjun ARRV).
FlyPast will be led by Advanced Light Helicopters Weapon System Integrated (WSI) ‘Rudra’ and two Advanced Light Helicopters, ‘Dhruv’ of Army Aviation in ‘Diamond’ formation.
Assam Rifles will lead the marching Contingents of Para-Military and other Auxiliary Civil Forces. It will be followed by the Indian Coast Guard, Central Reserve Police Force, Railway Protection Force, DELHI POLICE, Border Security Force Camel Contingent, National Cadet Corps Boys & Girls Contingent and National Service Scheme Marching Contingent.
Twenty-two tableaux, comprising of 16 from different States & Union Territories and six Ministries, Departments and other institutions will be displaying life, times and ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. The tableau of Sikkim portrays the state’s transformation into a 100 per cent organic farming and the cleanest state of the country in consonance with Mahatma Gandhi’s vision and ideal. Tableau of Maharashtra portrays Quit India Movement, which was a peoples’ movement in which millions of common Indians had participated. Tableau of Andaman & Nicobar will showcase Role of Gandhi ji among the inmates of Cellular Jail in Andaman. Assam will come up with a tableau depicting Gandhiji’s movement in Assam and his dream of rebuilding the rural economy by encouraging the growth of cottage industry.
The tableau of Tripura will showcase the egalitarian, inclusive and diverse social and ethnic culture based on the Gandhian principles. Tableau of Goa will showcase Unity in Diversity. Arunachal Pradeh will be depicting peace within through tableau of a clean Monpa village and its peaceful, cultural life which Mahatma Gandhi envisioned. Jallianwala Bagh will be the theme of Punjab tableau, which will evoke memories of the watershed moment in the independence struggle. Tamil Nadu will showcase Transformation of Dress Code of Mahatma Gandhi on September 22, 1921 in Madurai after seeing scantily clad peasants and poor people working in the farms and doing other manual work.
Tableau of Gujarat will depict Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Historical Dandi March’, which shook the foundation of the British Empire by scooping a handful of salt in the coastal village of Dandi in Gujarat. ‘Ray of Hope-Our Composite Culture’ will be the theme of tableau of Jammu and Kashmir. Karnataka will be showcasing Gandhiji’s momentous efforts at the Belagavi Congress session on 26-27 December 1924. Tableau of Uttarakhand will be depicting Spiritual Anashakti Ashram. Delhi will be showcasing Mahatma Gandhi and his association with the national Capital. Uttar Pradesh will showcase Commemoration the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. West Bengal tableau will highlight two key aspects in the life of Mahatma Gandhi- his stay at Kolkata during the crucial juncture of India’s Independence and his association with Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.
Ministry of Power will showcase Saubhagya: New India Raushan India. Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation will showcase magnificent four-year-old journey of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), the biggest behavioral change campaign in the world. Indian Railways will showcase his relationship with Railways in tableau titled ‘Mohan to Mahatma’. Ministry of Agriculture will depict Mahatma Gandhi’s economic philosophy called for ending poverty through improved agriculture and small scale rural cottage industries. CPWD (Horticulture) tableau will pay floral tributes to the Mahatma in his 150th birth anniversary year. It showcases a wide variety of flowers in different hues. The rear part shows Gandhiji’s message towards world peace and unity.
Twenty-six children including six girls and 20 boys Awardees of Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puruskar 2019 for their exceptional achievement will also grace the occasion. The awards have been given to children for their merit in the fields of innovation, scholastic, sports, arts, culture, social service, music, bravery or any other field which deserves recognition.
Children’s Pageant will be led by Navy Children School Chankyapuri, Delhi with the performance “Jai Ghosh”- a proclamation of faith and assurance in the principles of the divine soul, Mahatma Gandhi. Children of Government Schools of Bihar Eastern Zone, Cultural Centre, Kolkata will dance on this song by reiterating this dream of “Bapu Ka Sapna”. Students of Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya (RPVV) Kishan Ganj, Delhi and Kendriya Vidyalaya, Paschim Vihar, Delhi will pay homage and reverence to Bapu’s ideology through this scintillating dance performances.
Corps of Signals Motor Cycle Team will salute the president with daredevil acts in the Parade under the dynamic leadership of Captain Manpreet Singh, who will be saluting smartly from a 12.5 feet ladder. This is the first time in the history where he will be beating his own record of saluting from a ladder of 8ft.
The grand finale of the parade will be a spectacular flypast by the IAF. The flypast will commence with the ‘Rudra’ formation comprising three ALH Mk IV WSI helicopters in ‘Vic’ formation, followed by the ‘Hercules’ formation comprising three C-130J Super Hercules aircraft in ‘Vic’ formation. Behind the ‘Hercules’ formation is the ‘Netra’ the “Eye in the Sky”. Trailing them will be the ‘Sutlej Formation’ which is AN 32 aircraft flying in ‘Vic’ formation. Behind the ‘Netra’ formation is the ‘Globe’ formation, comprising one C-17 Globemaster flanked by two Su-30 MKIs.
Next in line will be Five Jaguar Deep penetration strike aircraft, in ‘Arrowhead’ formation. Following the Jaguars are five MiG-29 Upgrade Air Superiority Fighters in ‘Arrowhead’ formation. Three state-of-the-art, SU-30 MKIs of Indian Air Force to execute the Trishul manoeuvre. the culmination of the parade as a lone Su-30 MKI flying at a speed of 900 km/hr splits the sky with a ‘Vertical Charlie’ manoeuvre over the saluting dais.
The ceremony will culminate with the national anthem and release of balloons.