This year's Republic Day celebrations are extremely meaningful, as it is the 75th anniversary of India's Independence, and across the country, it is being observed as 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'. Several guidelines were imposed on the people attending the parade since it was taking place under the shadow of the Coronavirus pandemic.
For the first time in its history, the parade began at Rajpath at 10:30 am, half an hour later than usual, due to low visibility and fog. Ahead of the event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to the Indian armed forces personnel was at the National War Memorial.
On the eve of Republic Day, President Ram Nath Kovind honoured Assistant Sub Inspector Babu Ram - who was killed fighting terrorists in Kashmir, with Ashok Chakra, the country's highest peacetime gallantry award. The officer's wife received the award on his behalf.
The parade was started after the tricolour was unfurled with a 21-gun salute and was then led by Lieutenant General Vijay Kumar Mishra. The other contingents were led by the country's highest gallantry awards recipients and marched, saluting the President, the Supreme Commander of armed forces. Different Indian Army uniforms and rifles were on display at the parade, marking how they evolved after the Independence.
India's first woman Rafale fighter jet pilot Shivangi Singh was also part of the Indian Air Force tableau at the Republic Day parade on Wednesday. She is only the second woman fighter jet pilot to be part of the IAF tableau. Singh, who is from Varanasi, joined the IAF in 2017 and was commissioned in the IAF’s second batch of women fighter pilots. She had been flying MiG-21 Bison aircraft before flying the Rafale. She is part of the IAF’s Golden Arrows squadron based out of Ambala in Punjab.
The Army on Wednesday dedicated to people a 150-feet-high flagpole in the Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir to mark the Republic Day celebrations, a defence spokesman said. He said it will be the tallest flagpole in the union territory.
"On the occasion of the 73rd Republic Day, the Chinar Corps in collaboration with Punit Balan Group installed a 150-feet-high mast National Flag in the historic town of Shopian," the spokesman said.
On the occasion of Republic Day, BSF (Border Security Force) personnel exchange sweets with Pakistan Rangers at the international border in Sri Ganganagar and Jaisalmer districts of Rajasthan, as well as other bordering districts.
Later in the day, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson took to Twitter to convey his best wishes to the people of India.
"The UK and India are tied by bonds that span over decades, through generations and across some of the greatest challenges we have faced. I want to send my best wishes from the UK to the people of India, and to all British Indians, on India’s Republic Day," United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted.