e participation of a girl fighter pilot within the Indian Air Force (IAF)’s tableau, and the looks of Rafale fighter jets have been amongst a number of vital firsts within the 72nd Republic Day celebrations on Tuesday because the nation showcased its army would possibly and exhibited its cultural hues at festivities held underneath the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic within the Capital.

From T-90 tanks and BMP-II infantry fight automobiles rumbling down Rajpath to fighter jets performing some breathtaking manoeuvres within the skies, to indigenous rockets and missiles, India placed on show its battle machines at a time when the nation is locked in a tense border stand-off with China.

Besides, 17 tableaus from states and Union Territories (UT) depicted the cultural heritage of the nation in curtailed celebrations organised in adherence to strict security protocols and social distancing norms in view of the pandemic. The tableau of Uttar Pradesh showcased the heritage of the traditional city of Ayodhya, and the duplicate of the Ram temple that’s being constructed there, in addition to tales from the epic Ramayana. The Delhi tableau had a picture of the Red Fort and the redevelopment of Shahjahanabad within the Old City.

Another spotlight was a 122-member contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces that took half within the march at Rajpath as a part of the celebrations linked to 50 years of that nation’s liberation. Also, the tableau of UT Ladakh made its first look this 12 months. There was no chief visitor on the Republic Day parade this time — a primary since 1966. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was to be the chief visitor, cancelled his go to to India owing to rising Covid instances in his nation.

While 9 tableaus from totally different Union ministries and paramilitary forces took half within the Rajpath parade, six from the defence ministry, too, attended the occasion. Rafales, Sukhoi-30s and MiG-29s — fighters which are a part of the IAF’s muscular posture within the Ladakh theatre — have been among the many 42 plane within the fly-past, a key attraction. The Rafale jets took half within the parade for the primary time.

Other army gear displayed included the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, Pinaka multi-launcher rocket system, bridge layer tank T-72, Samvijay digital warfare system and Schilka weapon system.

The IAF tableau featured one in every of India’s first girls fighter pilots — one other first within the high-profile occasion. Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth was a part of the tableau that showcased mock-ups of the sunshine fight plane, mild fight helicopter and the Sukhoi-30. Also, amongst those that flew the Mi-17 V5 choppers that showered petals on the parade was Flight Lieutenant Swati.

This 12 months, the parade was shorter and concerned fewer members due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The shortened route of the parade meant it ended at National Stadium, as a substitute of Red Fort. Only a fourth of the standard variety of spectators have been allowed at Rajpath — no more than 25,000 spectators, in comparison with over 100,000 individuals who often flip up for the parade. Children under the age of 15 and people above 65 weren’t allowed among the many guests on the venue.

Before the parade started, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to India’s fallen heroes by inserting a wreath on the National War Memorial at India Gate. Defence minister Rajnath Singh, chief of defence workers General Bipin Rawat, military chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh have been current on the memorial.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and several other cupboard ministers have been among the many dignitaries who witnessed the parade.

The parade was led by Lieutenant General Vijay Kumar Mishra, common officer commanding, HQs Delhi Area. The march previous included Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra awardees (India’s highest wartime and peacetime gallantry awards, respectively), a military mounted column of 61 Cavalry, and marching contingents of the Jat Regiment, the Garhwal Rifles, the Mahar Regiment, the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles and Bengal Sappers.

The Indian Navy’s tableau depicted the navy’s function within the 1971 battle with Pakistan that led to the creation of Bangladesh. Photos of Maha Vir Chakra awardees have been displayed on the rear a part of the trailer, whereas the perimeters confirmed murals depicting the give up ceremony.

The fly-past featured a classic Dakota plane — used for dropping paratroopers through the 1971 battle — that flew in formation with two Mi-17 V5 helicopters, marking the golden jubilee celebrations.

The IAF’s C-17 Globemaster III transport plane, C-130J Super Hercules particular operations aircraft, Apache AH-64E assault helicopters and CH-47F (I) Chinook multi-mission choppers, too, took half within the fly-past.

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