New Delhi. 26 January, 2016. The Nation’s military prowess and achievements in different fields, state-of- the-art defence platforms, its diverse cultural and social traditions, and the government’s emphasis on self-reliance and indigenisation was showcased before the public at the historic Rajpath when the country celebrated its 67th Republic Day today.
For the first time in the history of Republic Day Parade, a 76-member French Army contingent led by a French military band consisting of 48 musicians marching on Rajpath presented a ceremonial salute to the President of India. The French Army contingent was led by Lt Col Paul Bury. This year’s Chief Guest in the parade was Francois Hollande, the President of the Republic of France.
Sticking to the 66 year tradition of the Republic Day Celebration, the colourful BSF Camel Regiment consisting of 56 camels led by Deputy Commandant Kuldeep J Choudhary . And the animal display did not end here. After a gap of 26 years, an Army dog squad drawn from the Remount Veterinary Corps (RVC) also took part, along with the handlers.
The Indian Army’s missile firing capability, T-90 ‘Bhishma’ tank, Infantry Combat Vehicle BMP II (Sarath), Mobile Autonomous Launcher of the BrahMos Missile System, Akash Weapon System, Smerch Launcher Vehicles and Integrated Communication Electronic Warfare System (ICEWS) were a major draw in the mechanised columns.
An Indian Air Force Tableau rolled down the Rajpath with the theme ‘Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations by IAF: In Service of the Nation and Beyond’. The Tableau showcased the IAF’s role in Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Yemen and Nepal rescue and relief operations, by displaying models of C-17 Globemaster, C-130 Hercules and MI-17V5 aircraft.
This year the Indian Navy’s Tableau had the theme ‘Empowering India through Maritime security and Indigenisation.’ The Tableau displayed flight deck operations on the new aircraft carrier ‘Vikrant’ under construction at the Kochi Shipyard Ltd and the indigenously constructed submarine ‘Kalvari’ by Mazagaon Dock Ltd, Mumbai, having a ‘Made in India’ tag on them.
The parade ceremony commenced at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate where the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath. An eternal flame burns at the Amar Jawan Jyoti to commemorate the indomitable courage of our Armed Forces personnel who have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the motherland. The Amar Jawan, the immortal soldier, is symbolised by a reversed rifle standing on its barrel and crested by a soldier’s helmet.
As per tradition, after unfurling of the National Flag, the National Anthem was played with a 21 gun salute. The parade then commenced and the President will take the salute. The parade was commanded by Lt. General Rajan Ravindran, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area. Major General Rajesh Sahai, Chief of Staff, Headquarters Delhi Area was the parade Second-in-Command.
Param Vir Chakra winners Subedar Major & Honorary Captain Bana Singh (Retd), Subedar Yogendra Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers and Naib/Subedar Sanjay Kumar, 13 JAK Rifles and Ashok Chakra winners Major General Cyrus A Pithawalla (Retd), Subedar Major (Honorary Captain) Sunder Singh (Retd), Major D Sreeram Kumar, Instructor, Indian Military Academy, Dehradun, Lieutenant Colonel Jas Ram Singh (Retd), Honorary Naib Subedar Chhering Mutup (Retd), Hukum Singh and Govind Singh both from district of Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh and Shri Bhure Lal of District Guna also from Madhya Pradesh followed the Deputy Parade Commander on Jeeps.
The marching contingents of Army included horse-mounted columns of the 61st Cavalry, the Parachute Regiment, the Corps of Signals, the Rajput Regiment, the Garhwal Rifles, the Assam Regiment, 11 Gorkha Rifles and Remount Veterinary Corps Dog Squad.
The marching contingent of Navy comprising 144 young sailors were led by Lieutenant Commander Anil Raina, while the Indian Air Force contingent comprising 144 men was led by Flt Lt Ashish Mann. The Paramilitary and other auxiliary civil forces included contingents from the Border Security Force, Assam Rifles, Indian Coast Guard, an all women contingents of Central Reserve Police Force, Railway Protection Force, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme.
Twenty three of the Twenty five children selected for the National Bravery Award–2015 also participated in the parade. Two children have got the award posthumously. In the children’s pageant section, about 500 boys and girls drawn from five schools in Delhi and a group of school children from South Central Zone Cultural Centre performed colourful dances on Rajpath. ‘Dare Devils’- the motorcycle display team of Corps of Signals were a major attraction of the parade. They performed different stunts like ‘Salute to President’, ‘Signal Rocket’, ‘Signal Fighter’, ‘Abhimanyu’, ‘Shradhanjali’, ‘Commando’, ‘Lotus formation’, and ‘Human Pyramid’, etc. on moving motor cycles.
The grand finale of the parade was a spectacular flypast by the IAF. The flypast commenced with the ‘Chakra’ formation, comprising three Mi-35 helicopters in ‘Vic’ formation, followed by the ‘Hercules’ formation comprising three C-130J Super Hercules aircraft in ‘Vic’ formation. Trailing them were the ‘Globe formation’ comprising one C-17 Globemaster flanked by two Su-30s. Next in line were the fighters, where five Jaguars flew in Arrowhead formation, another five MiG-29 Air Superiority Fighters called the ‘Tridents’ flew in Fulcrum style. Then the breath-taking ‘Trishul’ formation comprising three Su-30 MKI of No. 24 Squadron flew over the Rajpath, and once in front of the saluting dais, the Su-30 MKI aircraft split upwards, making a Trishul in the sky. The flypast concluded with another Su-30 MKI carrying out a ‘Vertical Charlie’ manoeuvre over the saluting dais.