Sixty nine years ago, on January 26, 1950, India became a sovereign democratic republic. The first President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad took oath of office, and India embarked on a new journey. Today, India is entering 70th year of sovereignty. At the grand national event at the historic Rajpath in New Delhi, President Ram Nath Kovind will unfurl the National Flag, following which the National Anthem will be played with a 21 gun salute. President of the Republic of South Africa Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa will be the chief guest at the 70th Republic Day function.

The underlining theme of this year’s Republic Day celebration is Mahatma Gandhi, as India is celebrating 150th year of his birth.

The Republic Day Parade will start with Prime Minister Narendra Modi laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti under India Gate, paying homage to the martyrs.

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The parade will commence after the National Flag is unfurled and the National Anthem is played, and the President will then 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 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.

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A major highlight of the Republic Day Parade this year will be an all-women marching contingent of Assam Rifles that is taking part for the first time. Major Khusboo Kanwar is leading the contingent.

Veterans of Indian National Army (INA) who fought against the imperial forces will also take part in Republic Day Parade this year.

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’.

The Air Force Marching Contingent also comprises 144 air warriors who 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’.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will be displaying Medium range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM).

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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, 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.

As many as 22 tableaux, comprising 16 from different states and union territories and six ministries, departments and other institutions will be displaying life, times and ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.

Twenty-six children who were awarded the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puruskar 2019 for their exceptional achievement will be part of the Republic Day function.

The Children’s Pageant will be led by Navy Children School, Chankyapuri, with the performance “Jai Ghosh”.

Corps of Signals Motor Cycle Team will salute the President and perform daredevil acts under the leadership of Captain Manpreet Singh, who is set to beat his own record of saluting from a ladder of 8ft by doing it from a 12.5 feet ladder.

The grand finale will be a flypast by the IAF that will commence with the ‘Rudra’ formation, followed by the ‘Hercules’ formation. ‘Netra’ the “Eye in the Sky” will be behind the ‘Hercules’ formation and trailing them will be the ‘Sutlej Formation’ which is AN 32 aircraft flying in ‘Vic’ formation.