Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday interacted with the cadets and artists performing at the Republic Day Parade lauding their 'enthusiasm' amid the Coronavirus pandemic. "Corona has really changed a lot. Masks, corona tests, two yards away, have all become part of everyday life. Despite this, there is no lack in your enthusiasm, your enthusiasm," said PM Modi.
Discussing how the nation was entering its 75th year of independence, PM Modi remarked that while the citizens of the nation today did not have the opportunity to fight for the freedom struggle, they had the chance to change the future course of the nation. "This year our country is entering its 75th year of independence. This year is also the 400th Prakash Parv of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. In the same year, we are also making the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Now the country has decided that we will celebrate Netaji's birthday as a day of valor," he said.
"We did not get an opportunity to sacrifice our everything for the independence of the country. But the country has definitely given us the opportunity to give our best. We should keep doing what we can to make the country stronger," he added.
Encouraging the participants of this year's Republic Day Parade, PM Modi said, "When you step on the Rajpath with zeal, every countryman is filled with enthusiasm. When you show a glimpse of the rich art, culture, tradition, and heritage of India, the head of every country's citizen rises with pride. The Republic Day parade pays tribute to India's great social, cultural heritage, as well as our strategic strength. These parades pay tribute to our Constitution, which brings alive the world's largest democracy."
"India means the collective power of sweat, aspirations, expectations of the common people. India means many states, one nation. India means many societies, one emotion. India means many paths, but one aim. India means many languages, one expression. India means many colors but one tricolor," said PM Modi.
भारत यानी कोटि-कोटि सामान्य जन के खून पसीने, आकांक्षाओं, अपेक्षा की सामूहिक शक्ति।— BJP (@BJP4India) January 24, 2021
भारत यानी राज्य अनेक, राष्ट्र एक।
भारत यानी समाज अनेक, भाव एक।
भारत यानी पंथ अनेक, लक्ष्य एक।
भारत यानी भाषाएं अनेक, अभिव्यक्ति एक।
भारत यानी रंग अनेक, तिरंगा एक।
- पीएम @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/PuDJmJmeFW
During his address, the PM also urged people to be 'Vocal for Local' urging people to support local artisans and skilled workers to help India achieve the dream of 'self-reliance'.
This year's Republic Day Parade will witness several major changes owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time in 55 years, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced that no foreign dignitary would attend the January 26 parade. Moreover, several other changes have been introduced in the parade contingents. This year, the contingents will only march for a distance of 3.5 km instead of the usual 8.5 km.