As India celebrates its 71st Republic Day on Sunday, the majestically grand celebrations at Rajpath will witness India's strong military might, a bright display of cultural richness & diversity, social, and economic progress on display for the world to see. This year's Republic Day parade will see President Ram Nath Kovind hosting this year's Chief Guest President of the Federal Republic of Brazil, Jair Messias Bolsonaro.
Unlike other Republic Day parades, This year's parade ceremony will mark the first time when the Prime Minister will visit the newly built National War Memorial near India Gate instead of Amar Jawan Jyoti. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on behalf of the entire nation will pay solemn tributes to the martyrs of all the armed forces by laying a wreath.
Thereafter, the Prime Minister and other dignitaries will head to the saluting dais at Rajpath to witness the parade. As per tradition, the National Flag will be unfurled at the Raj Ghat followed by the National Anthem with a booming 21-gun salute.
The parade will begin with President Ram Nath Kovind taking the salute. This year's 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.
The 71st Republic Day parade will have Twenty-two tableaux, 16 from states and Union Territories and Six tableaux from different ministries and departments will highlight multiple far-reaching reforms of the government, including 'Startup India', 'Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna' and 'Jal Jeevan Mission'. The glorious past and vibrant future of the Kolkata Port Trust is the theme of the tableau of the Ministry of Shipping.
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 President will also honour the proud winners of the highest gallantry awards. The winners will include the recipients of the Param Vir Chakra and the Ashok Chakra. The Param Vir Chakra is awarded for the most marked act of bravery and self-sacrifice in the face of the enemy.
The Indian Army will be represented by a Mounted Column of 61 Cavalry, eight mechanized columns, six marching contingents and fly-past by Rudra and Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters of the Army Aviation.
Indigenously-developed Main Battle Tank of the Indian Army, T-90 Bhishma, Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV) Ballway Machine Pikate (BMP)-II, K-9 VAJRA-T, Dhanush Gun System, newly-inducted five-meter Short Span Bridging System, Sarvatra Bridge System, Transportable Satellite Terminal and Akash weapon system will be the main attraction in the mechanized columns.
According to the statement issued by the Ministry of Defence on Saturday, the 90-minute parade will 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, in addition to tableaux depicting Akash and Astra missiles and Navy's prowess.
"The second equipment of DRDO will be the Air Defence Tactical Control Radar (ADTCR) used for volumetric surveillance, detection, tracking and friend/foe identification of aerial targets of different types and transmission of prioritized target data to multiple command posts/weapon systems," the ministry said.
The 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. The contingent of the Corps of Army Air Defence will also march for the first time during the parade.
Republic Day's Naval contingent will have 144 sailors led by Lieutenant Jitin Malkat as Contingent Commander. It will be followed by the Naval Tableau titled 'Indian Navy -- Silent, Strong, and Swift'. Navy's tableau will showcase the might and firepower of Navy in all three dimensions. The tableau will also exhibit the Navy's commitment to nation-building.
The Air Force contingent, comprising of 144 air warriors, will 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 Indian Coast Guard marching contingent will be led by Deputy Commandant Gaurav Sharma.
The contingents of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Delhi Police and Border Security Force (BSF) will also participate in the march past the saluting dais.
The 71st Republic Day Parade will also witness for the first time, a contingent of women bikers of CRPF performing daredevil stunts. The contingent will be led by Inspector Seema Nag who will be seen saluting while standing atop a moving motorcycle.
The parade's grand finale and one of the most spectacular sites, the FlyPast, will comprise 'Trishul' formation by three ALH helicopters. The "Tri-service Formation" is taking part in the Republic Day Parade for the first time. 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 will be some of the Indian Air Force's other highlights that will display India's air power.
The Su-30 MKI aircraft will mark the mega climax of the Republic Day Parade. Su-30 MKI will be seen ruling the skies with a breath-taking 'Vertical Charlie' aerobatic manoeuvre.