As India celebrates its 70th Republic Day on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first leaders to greet the nation. The Republic Day parade began after PM Modi paid tributes to the martyrs at the Amar Jawan Jyoti.
South African President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa is the chief guest for the event.
President Ram Nath Kovind unfurled the National Flag followed which the National Anthem was played with a 21 gun salute.
Lance Naik Nazir Ahmed Wani, who lost his life while killing 6 terrorists in an operation in Kashmir, was awarded the Ashok Chakra. The award was received by his wife and mother from President Ram Nath Kovind.
The underlining theme of this year’s Republic Day celebration is Mahatma Gandhi, as India is celebrating 150th year of his birth.
The parade began from Vijay Chowk and pass through Rajpath, Tilak Marg, Bahadur Shah Zafar (BSZ) Marg, Netaji Subhash Marg and proceed for the Red Fort. CDR Major Heneral Rajpal Punia led the parade at Rajpath.
India’s military might was at display with Captain Navneet Eric of 45 Cavalry commanding T-90 (Bhishma), the main battle tank of the Indian Army, and Captain Devansh Bhutani commanding K-9 Vajra-T, a self-propelled howitzer at the parade.
Twenty-two tableaux of states and central government departments were showcased during the 90-minute parade.
The 70th Republic Day parade showcased a dazzling display of ‘Nari Shakti’, led by the Assam Rifles contingent. A lone woman officer also exhibited bike stunts on Rajpath as part of the iconic daredevil team. Contingents of the Navy, Army Services Corps and a unit of Corps of Signals was led by women officers.
In a first, four veterans of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army, all aged over 90 years, participated in the country’s 70th Republic Day celebrations.
Earlier, Union Minister Arun Jaitley, who is in the United States for medical treatment, extended his greetings to the nation.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi also extended his greetings to the nation.
Elaborate traffic arrangements and restrictions have been put in place in Delhi for smooth conduct of the Republic Day parade that starts from Vijay Chowk and culminates at Red Fort grounds.
The Delhi Traffic police has closed C Hexagon- India Gate for traffic movement from 2 am till parade crosses Tilak Marg.