India celebrates 73rd Republic Day

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The march past on Republic Day on Wednesday began with Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra gallantry award winners following the parade commander in their jeeps.

Retired Subedar Major Yogender Singh Yadav, who won India’s highest wartime gallantry award Param Vir Chakra for showing exemplary bravery during the 1999 Kargil war, was in the first of the three jeeps.

Subedar Sanjay Kumar, who also won the Param Vir Chakra for showing exceptional bravery during the 1999 Kargil war, was in the second jeep.

Strict Covid protocol was in place as only 5,000 people attended the celebrations at Rajpath. Only fully vaccinated adults and children above 15 who had received the first shot were allowed. Due to the pandemic, there was no foreign contingent this year.

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The parade started at 10:30 am, half-an-hour later than usual for better visibility. Ahead of the event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to India’s fallen soldiers at the National War Memorial.

The parade, led by Lieutenant General Vijay Kumar Mishra, started after the tricolour was unfurled with a 21-gun salute.

How Indian Army uniforms and rifles evolved over the decades since independence was on display at the parade. Three contingents of the Army wore uniforms and carried rifles from previous decades, and one wore the new combat uniform and carried the latest Tavor rifles.

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President Kovind posthumously awarded Ashok Chakra, the country’s highest peacetime gallantry award, to Assistant Sub Inspector Babu Ram, who was killed fighting terrorists in Kashmir. The officer’s wife received the award on his behalf.

The contingents of security forces were followed by tableux from states that showcased India’s cultural diversity, with themes ranging from the freedom struggle to biodiversity.

For the ‘Beating Retreat’ ceremony at Vijay Chowk on January 29, a drone show with 1,000 indigenously manufactured drones has been planned.