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India marks 75th Republic Day showcasing military might, women power, rich culture

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New Delhi: India celebrated its 75th Republic Day on Friday by showcasing a rich cultural diversity, unity and progress, military prowess and growing women power.

President Droupadi Murmu led the nation in celebrating the Republic Day at Kartavya Path, the venue of a spectacular parade. This year, French President Emmanuel Macron graced the event as the chief guest.

Vice President of India Jagdeep Dhankhar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, members of his council of ministers, senior armed forces personnel, bureaucrats, police officers, political leaders and members of the diplomatic corps were also in attendance.

The main function began with a wreath laying ceremony at the National War Memorial in honour of the braveheart soldiers.

Minutes later, the President of India and her French counterpart were escorted to the venue by the President’s Bodyguard in a traditional buggy, a practice which made a comeback after a gap of 40 years.

President Murmu unfurled the National flag, following which the National Anthem was played with a 21 gun salute given by indigenous gun system 105mm Indian Field Guns.

The parade was heralded by over 100 women artists playing Indian musical instruments such as Sankh, Naadswaram, Nagada for the first time instead of the traditional military bands.

The parade also witnessed the maiden participation of an all-women Tri-Service contingent that smartly marched down the Kartavya Path with confident steps.

The contingent was led by by Captain Sandhya of Military Police, with three supernumerary officers Captain Sharanya Rao, Sub Lieutenant Anshu Yadav and Flight Lieutenant Shrishti Rao, and an all-women Armed Forces Medical Services contingent, headed by Major Srishti Khullar with Captain Amba Samant of Army Dental Corps, Surgeon Lieutenant Kanchana of Indian Navy and Flight Lieutenant Dhivya Priya of Indian Air Force.

Moreover, the contingents of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) consisted of only women personnel.

It may be mentioned that this year the Republic Day was based on the twin themes of ‘Viksit Bharat and Bharat – Loktantra ki Matruka’.

All eyes shifted from Kartvya Path to the sky where IAF’s most eagerly awaited ‘Fly-past’ commenced with a breath-taking air show by 54 aircraft and helicopters. These included three aircraft from the French Air & Space Force, 46 from the Indian Air Force, one from the Indian Navy, and four helicopters from the Indian Army.

Audiences witnessed some difficult formations by vintage as well as modern aircraft such as Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’, Rafale, Su-30, MiG-29 Upgrade, P-8I, Jaguar, Dakota, Dornier, C-17, C-130J as well as Light Combat Helicopter ‘Prachand’, Advanced Light Helicopters and Apaches.

The women personnel of CRPF, BSF and SSB exhibited the country’s Nari Shakti by carrying out daredevil stunts during the motorcycle display. Over 260 women showcased their bravery, valour and determination through varied formations, including Chandrayaan, Sarvatra Suraksha, Abhivadan and Yog Se Siddhi. As the women power passed by, the audience rose from their seats to salute.

In a spectacular display of cultural opulence and “Nari Shakti”, the “Vande Bharatam” showcased the theme “Cultural expression of women’s power accomplishment through resolve”.

A group of 1,500 dancers under the banner of “Vande Bharatam-Nari Shakti” graced the parade with a message of unity in diversity.

The performance showcased 30 distinctive folk dance styles, including Kuchipudi, Kathak, Bharatnatyam, Satriya, Mohiniyattam, Odissi, Manipuri, contemporary classical dance, and Bollywood styles.

Kartavya Path also witnessed a march past by a combined band and marching contingent of the French Armed Forces.

A 30-member band contingent headed by Captain Khourda was followed by a 90-member marching contingent, led by Captain Noel.

Moreover, tableaux of 16 states and Union Territories and nine ministries rolled down the Kartavya Path.

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