All set to celebrate the 71st Republic Day, India will showcase its military might, cultural diversity, social and economic progress during the grand parade at the Rajpath on Sunday.
The 90-minute-long Republic Day parade ceremony will begin after Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays respect at the National War Memorial near the India Gate. President Ram Nath Kovind will host this year's chief guest, Brazil President Jair Messias Bolsonaro.
As per the tradition, the Indian National Flag will be unfurled with a booming 21-gun salute followed by the national anthem. The Republic Day parade will commence following President Kovind's salute.
The parade will be commanded by Parade Commander Lieutenant General Asit Mistry, General Officer Commanding, Headquarters Delhi Area. Major General Alok Kacker, Chief of Staff, Delhi Area, will be the parade Second-in-Command.
Later, the winners of the highest gallantry awards -- Param Vir Chakra and the Ashok Chakra will be honoured.
The first parade contingent in the uniform of the erstwhile Gwalior Lancers will be 61 Cavalry led by Captain Deepanshu Sheoran. The speciality of 61 Cavalry is that it is the only serving horse cavalry regiment in the world.
The Indian Army will be represented by a Mounted Column of 61 Cavalry, eight mechanised columns, six marching contingents and fly-past by Rudra and Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters of the Army Aviation.
Other marching contingents of the Army will include the Parachute Regiment, the Grenadiers Regiment, the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment, the Kumaon Regiment and the Corps of Signals.
Marching for the first time on Republic Day will be the contingent of the Corps of Army Air Defence. It will be followed by The Combined Band of Bengal Engineers Group and Centre, Brigade of Guards Training Centre,3 Electronics and Mechanical Engineers Centre and Madras Regimental Centre.
The Naval contingent comprising of 144 young sailors will be led by Lieutenant Jitin Malkat as Contingent Commander, followed by the Naval Tableau titled 'Indian Navy - Silent, Strong, and Swift'. The fore part of the tableau exhibits the might and firepower of Navy in all three dimensions, while the next part exhibits the Navy's commitment to nation-building.
The Air Force contingent, comprising of 144 air warriors, be led by Flight Lieutenant Shrikant Sharma. The Air Force tableau showcases scaled-down models of the Rafale aircraft, the Tejas aircraft, the Light Combat Helicopter, the Akash Missiles System and the Astra Missiles.
The veterans' tableau, marking the recognition and respect to the soldiers' selfless service to the nation, will showcase the theme 'Force behind the Force'.
The Indian Coast Guard marching contingent will be led by Deputy Commandant Gaurav Sharma. The motto of the Indian Coast Guard is 'Vayam Rakshamah' meaning 'We Protect'.
The contingents of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Delhi Police and Border Security Force (BSF) will also march past the saluting dais.
The National Cadet Corps (NCC) Boys Marching contingent will be led by Commander Junior Under-Officer Charandeep Singh Bhaduria, NCC Directorate Uttar Pradesh, while the Girls contingent will be headed by Senior Under-Officer Shreeshma Hegde, NCC Directorate, Karnataka and Goa.
The National Service Scheme (NSS) contingent comprising 148 volunteers will also take part in the parade. The massed pipes and drums band of the Indian Army will also be on display.
Anti-satellite weapon - Mission Shakthi developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Army's battle tank Bhishma, infantry combat vehicles, Air Forces' newly inducted Chinook and Apache helicopters, and tableaux depicting Akash and Astra missiles and Navy's prowess will be showcased during the parade.
Twenty tableaux - 16 from States and Union Territories and six from various ministries, depicting the nation's rich cultural heritage and economic progress will roll down the Rajpath. The government departments' tableaux will showcase reforms brought under schemes such as Startup India, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna and Jal Jeevan Mission.
School children will convey the age-old message of Yoga and spiritual values through dance and music and Indian Air Force aircraft will thunder in the sky projecting the air-power.
The proud winners of Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar will arrive in jeeps. It will be followed by children's pageant comprising over 600 participants.
For the first time, a contingent of women bikers of CRPF will perform daredevil stunts.
The grand finale and the most keenly awaited segment of the parade, the flypast will comprise of the 'Trishul' formation by three ALH helicopters. It is for the first time that a "tri-service formation" is taking part in the Republic Day parade.
It will be followed by the 'Vic' formation of Chinook helicopters, used for airlifting diverse loads to remote locations. Apache helicopters, Dornier aircraft, C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, Netra, an Airborne Early Warning and Control System aircraft and the 'Globe' formation comprising three C-17 Globemasters are some of the other highlights.
(With inputs from ANI)