70th Republic Day live updates
India celebrated its 70th Republic Day on Saturday with a grand display of its military might and rich cultural diversity as the ceremonial parade rolled down the majestic Rajpath here in presence of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as the chief guest.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his tributes to the martyrs by laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti before the start of the parade in presence of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the three service chiefs.
Later Mr. Modi, wearing his traditional kurta pajama and the trademark Nehru jacket, reached the Rajpath and received and greeted President Ram Nath Kovind and the chief guest.
At the unfurling of the tricolour, the band played the national anthem with a 21-gun salute fired in the background.
Many senior leaders, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and Deve Gowda, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Ghulam Nabi Azad were among those present at the event.
Women commandos, mobile hit teams, anti-aircraft guns and sharpshooters have been deployed at strategic locations to keep a close watch on the eight-km-long Republic Day parade route from Rajpath to the Red Fort in central Delhi. According to Delhi Police, parakram vans, manned by NSG-trained commandos, have been patrolling strategic locations to ensure that security is not jeopardised.
Here are the latest updates:
And with that, the grand celebration comes to an end. The band plays the national anthem one more time, with hundreds of popele singing their hearts out, followed by display of colorful balloons flying in air.
Among the various show of strengths, the new addition this year includes the Indian military displayed artillery gun system M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers, recently acquired from the US, and K9 Vajra, a self-propelled artillery gun.
The motorbilke daredevil team proceeds showcasing unbelievable balance and bravery. Captain Shikha Surbhi gives a standing salute on a motorcycle to the President and the other leaders; the Prime Minister and the chief of guest is seen smiling. President Ram Nath Kovind applauds in ecounragement.
The daredevils showcase breathe taking formations – from human pyramid on moving bikes to a solo jawan balancing the moving motorbike with one leg.
The daredevil act is followed by the marvellous Air Force show. Three helicopters forming a triangle fly over the Rajpath followed by three aeroplanes and fighter jets. People relishing the stunts as the fighter jets shoots up into the sky and flips over multiple times defying gravity.
The next set of tableaus showcases Swachh Bharat mission initiates followed by the Railways. Keeping up with the theme which is marking 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the tableaus showcase strength and culture of States.
Just before the school students break into dance one of the last tableaus carried the youngest recipients of honour. These children have received National Bravery Award.
Jawans of Assam Rifles march on as “kadam kadam barahe ja” can be heard playing in the background.
Commander Kuldeep Singh security force leads the Border Security Force contingent mounting on very colourful camels. This is followed by all female NCC contingent.
The first tableau representing individual States is lead by Sikkim followed by Maharashtra. Tableau from Assam is accompanied by a popular song sung by Bhupen Hazarika, who is awarded with the Bharat Ratna this year. Tableau from Punjab represents the brutal story of Jallianwala Bagh massacre, followed by Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
Lt Gen Asit Mistry leads the parade. He is followed by other senior armed force personnel. The first contingent includes horse riders followed by high combat tankers including T-90 Bhishma. Advanced light helicopters pass through as the battalions from different States begin co-ordinated march of – left right.
Lt commander Ambika Sudhakaran leads the Indian Navy contingent, which was proceeded by the band. Navy is followed by the Air Force contingent which showcases light combat aircraft and other medium range missile carriers.
The overall theme for the Republic Day celebrations this year is the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and tableaus of many states, themed on the iconic freedom fighter, are lined up for the occasion.
Wife and mother of Nazir Ahmad Wani, 38-year-old martyred recives Ashok Chakra — India’s highest peacetime military decoration. He is Kashmir valley’s first ever awardee of the Ashok Chakra.
PM receives the President along with the chief guest Ramaphosa. “Swagatam su swagatm” being played in background. National anthem played soon after followed by salami – 21 gun salute at the Rajpath.
Most of the ministers of the Modi government, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and Deve Gowda, Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad were among those present on the occasion.
President Ramnath Govind along with the chief guest South African President Cyril Ramaphosa takes 32 steps down to join the parade.
Meanwhile Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman greets jawans at the Amar Jawan Joti in India Gate followed by receiving Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is donning a colourful head gear. PM pays homage at the Amar Jawan Joti. Mr. Modi leaves for Rajpath.
Leaders take to social media to greet citizens
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets people writes on Twitter, “Happy Republic Day to all fellow Indians.”
Several other leaders also took to social media site to wish citizens.
“As we celebrate #RepublicDay2019, let us renew our vow to our country: let us strive to live up to the ideals of justice, liberty and equality as enshrined in the constitution. Let us move towards a stronger, better India. Let us, with fierce pride, say in one voice: JAI HIND!” Union Minister Rajya Vardhan Singh Rathore writes.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley, who is recuperating after a surgery in a hospital in the US, also tweets, “#RepublicDay2019 greetings to everyone. Happy 70th #RepublicDay2019.”
Traffic diversions in Delhi
Elaborate traffic arrangements and restrictions have been put in place in Delhi for smooth conduct of the Republic Day parade between Vijay Chowk and Red Fort Grounds, traffic police officials said Tuesday.
Metro services will be available for commuters at all stations on Republic Day, but there will be no boarding and de-boarding at Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan stations from 5 am till 12 pm, they said.
Earlier, addressing the nation on the eve of the 70th Republic day, the President said the “Indian model” rested on the tripod of diversity, democracy and development.
He called upon citizens to perform the “sacred” act of voting, and described this year’s election as a “once-in-a-century moment” that will shape the future of India.
Stressing the importance of an inclusive and pluralistic growth model, he said: “This country belongs to each of us and to all of us — every group and every community, every region and every identity. It belongs to every citizen and every individual. India’s pluralism is its greatest strength and its greatest example to the world.”
Elaborate measures, including deployment of anti-aircraft guns, have also been put in place to secure the airspace over Delhi, police said.
The parade will start at 9.50 am from Vijay Chowk and pass through Rajpath, Tilak Marg, Bahadur Shah Zafar (BSZ) Marg, Netaji Subhash Marg and proceed for the Red Fort. A function will also be held at India Gate at 09.00 am, the traffic police said.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade. He will be the second South African president to be invited to the event as the chief guest. Former South African president Nelson Mandela was the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in 1995.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by Daily Report and is published from The Hindu.)
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