R-Day @ 73

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The 73rd Republic Day parade also featured its biggest-yet fly-past, with 75 aircraft from all three services on display.  For the first time in its history, the parade began half an hour later than usual, due to low visibility and fog, reports Asian Lite News

The country’s first woman Rafale fighter jet pilot Shivangi Singh was part of the Indian Air Force tableau at the Republic Day parade on Wednesday. She is only the second woman fighter jet pilot to be part of the IAF tableau. Singh, who is from Varanasi, joined the IAF in 2017 and was commissioned in the IAF’s second batch of women fighter pilots. She had been flying MiG-21 Bison aircraft before flying the Rafale. She is part of the IAF’s Golden Arrows squadron based out of Ambala in Punjab.

The 73rd Republic Day parade also featured its biggest-yet fly-past, with 75 aircraft from all three services on display.  For the first time in its history, the parade began half an hour later than usual, due to low visibility and fog. Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the National War Memorial on Wednesday morning, where he paid homage to the armed forces personnel who were killed in action. He was received by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and the chiefs of the three defence forces.

With the parade taking place under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic yet again, strict guidelines have been imposed for those attending. Those attending must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and children below 15 years of age will not be allowed to attend the function. Visitors must carry proof of vaccination and must adhere to all Covid-protocols, such as wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing.

The grand Republic Day parade started at 10:30am today amid foggy weather. As per tradition, the national flag was unfurled followed by the National Anthem with a booming 21-gun salute, presented by Ceremonial Battery of 871 Field Regiment.

The celebrations commenced on January 23 as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the occasion of Netaji’s 125th birth anniversary, unveiled the hologram statue of the freedom fighter at India Gate in Delhi on Sunday.

As many as 75 aircraft of the Indian Air Force conducted a flypast showcasing the India’s military prowess at the event. For the first time, the defence ministry presented videos from the cockpit as the helicopters and aircraft flew over Rajpath. The Centre also installed 10 large LED screens, five on each side of Rajpath, for spectators at the location. The guest list was cut short this year to ensure necessary Covid protocols.

On the eve of Republic Day celebrations, President Ram Nath Kovind approved awards of 384 gallantry and other defence decorations to armed forces personnel and others.

The Centre also announced the Padma awards on Tuesday. The President approved the conferment of 128 Padma awards this year, including two duo cases, in which the award is counted as one. The list comprises four Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shri awards.

The parade, led by Lieutenant General Vijay Kumar Mishra, started after the tricolour was unfurled with a 21-gun salute. The winners of the country’s highest gallantry awards, Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra, led the contingents in saluting the President, the Supreme Commander of armed forces.

How Indian Army uniforms and rifles evolved over the decades since independence was on display at the parade. Three contingents of the Army wore uniforms and carried rifles from previous decades, and one wore the new combat uniform and carried the latest Tavor rifles.

President Kovind posthumously awarded Ashok Chakra, the country’s highest peacetime gallantry award, to Assistant Sub Inspector Babu Ram, who was killed fighting terrorists in Kashmir. The officer’s wife received the award on his behalf.

The contingents of security forces were followed by tableux from states that showcased India’s cultural diversity, with themes ranging from the freedom struggle to biodiversity.

Several government ministries and departments also took out tabluex, highlighting flagship initiatives such as Jal Jeevan Mission. The Central Public Works Development tableau paid tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 125th birth anniversary.

About 480 dancers from diverse genre, who were selected through a nationwide dance competition, performed in the parade.

For the ‘Beating Retreat’ ceremony at Vijay Chowk on January 29, a drone show with 1,000 indigenously manufactured drones has been planned.

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