New Delhi: Just like every year, India showcased its military might and cultural diversity on Republic Day. This year’s celebrations, however, saw a number of firsts, including, among others, an added day of celebrating Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary amid no foreign guest at the event for the second year in a row.
In 2020, New Delhi had invited then US President Donald Trump to be its guest of honor on Republic Day. But Trump could not find space in his busy schedule. So the government raced to find an alternative, and secured the presence of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro as chief guest.
Last year, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had confirmed that he would attend the January 26 ceremony but bailed three weeks before the date owing to the pandemic.
There was no foreign chief guest on Republic Day this year due to the coronavirus crisis and the Omicron threat. The Government had reportedly sent invitations to the Heads of States of five Central Asian countries.
The government had invited sanitation workers and frontline workers to participate in the Republic Day celebrations
Republic Day celebrations began from January 23 this year in order to include Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary.
The Republic Day Parade kicked off a little later at 10.30 am, to ensure better visibility as Delhi was engulfed with fog on wintry mornings.
The number of tableaux was reduced this year. A total of 12 states and nine ministries or government departments were showcased in the parade, due to limited space and time.
Children below the age of 15 were not allowed to attend the parade, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. Only fully vaccinated individuals have been allowed entry.
In another initiative, as the Prime Minister laid the wreath at the National War Memorial in the morning, cadets from the National Cadet Corps provided a “plaque of gratitude” to the next of kin of around 5000 soldiers who have made the supreme sacrifice for the nation, and have their names mentioned on the National War Memorial.
For the first time, a unique drone and laser show will take place at the annual Beating Retreat ceremony on January 29. The government has also dropped the ‘Abide with Me’ — usually played at the end of the ceremony — this year.