NEW DELHI, Jan 26: India celebrated the 75th Republic Day on Friday with a grand display of its women power and military might that included elite marching contingents, missiles, warplanes, surveillance gadgets and lethal weapon systems, with French President Emmanuel Macron gracing the occasion as the chief guest.
The presence of President Macron was further amplified by the French Rafales flying along with the Indian Rafales over Kartavya Path, a first for a foreign air force.
The Delhi police deployed over 14,000 security personnel across the Capital ahead of the Republic Day celebrations to make a “robust and flawless” security arrangements at the Kartavya Path where over 77,000 visitors witnessed the parade.
As part of the Republic Day 2024 celebrations, Kartavya Path in Delhi came alive with a spectacular showcase of cultural performances. A group consisting of 1500 dancers delivered a powerful message of unity in diversity through their mesmerizing acts. The grand performance included 30 folk dance styles uniquely prevalent in different states of the country. 120 dancers have also donned masks related to various tribal and folk performing arts and 120 dancers performed dances with traditional umbrellas and other artistic objects from Gujarat, Manipur, Kerala and Maharashtra.
An all-girl contingent and band of the National Cadet Corps (NCC), fielded for the first time, marched on Kartavya Path. The contingent, comprising148 cadets from across the nation. With nearly 17 lakh cadets on its roll, NCC is one of the largest youth uniformed organisations in the world.
A total of 16 tableaux from states and Union territories and nine from central ministries and departments rolled down the Kartavya Path during the parade. The states and Union territories from where the tableaux took part in the parade included Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Ladakh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.
For the first time, an all-women tri-services contingent marched down the Kartavya Path, reflecting the country’s growing ‘Nari Shakti’ (women power). In another first, the parade was heralded by over 100 women artistes playing Indian musical instruments such as sankh, naadswaram and nagada instead of traditional military bands kickstarting the celebrations.
The first Army contingent leading the mechanised column was the 61 Cavalry, which was raised in 1953. It was followed by 11 mechanised columns, 12 marching contingents and a fly-past by advanced light helicopters of the Army Aviation Corps.
A 200-strong female volunteers’ contingent of National Service Scheme (NSS) participated in the Republic Day Parade where they marched on Kartavya Path. The NSS has 3.9 million volunteers in its fold, drawn from 657 universities, 51 directorates and two councils, 20,669 colleges and institutions of higher learning and 11,998 senior secondary schools. The contingent marched under the command of Ragina Tamang from Sikkim.
The Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal extended Republic Day wishes to India and expressed confidence over the strengthening of India-Nepal ties. Taking to X, Nepal PMO said, “On the occasion of the 75th Republic Day of India, I extend my best wishes to PM Shri @narendramodi ji, the government and friendly people of India for good health, peace and prosperity. I am confident that the ties of friendship between our countries will continue to grow further.”
In Bengaluru, during the Republic Day celebrations at Field Marshal Manekshaw Parade Ground, a man, identified as Parashuram, attempted to illegally enter the Parade Ground to disrupt the motorcycle display. Police officials and security personnel detained the man from the ground and are currently investigating the motive behind his entry to the ground.
According to police officials, upon being taken away from the ground, the man was saying that he was upset with the government. “The person jumped off from the media box designated for journalists during the event. The investigation is in progress, and additional details will be disclosed,” a senior police official said.