A major highlight of this year’s Republic Day Parade would be the showcasing of the Indian Army’s Arjun tanks and the ambulance-tracked vehicles, General Officer Commanding Delhi Area Lieutenant-General K. J. S. Oberoi said here on Saturday.

“Smerch” multiple rocket launcher systems, engineer reconnaissance vehicle, indigenously built “Sarvatra” bridge, infantry combat vehicles and ICV-based communication vehicles of the Army would also be showcased.

“The Parade will begin at Vijay Chowk and pass through Rajpath where President Pratibha Patil will take the salute. President of the Republic of Korea Lee Myung-Bak will be chief guest on the occasion,” said Lt. Gen Oberoi, who will be commander of the Parade. Brigadier Kuldip Singh will be the second in command.

The Indian Navy, Air Force and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will also participate in the Parade. The DRDO would display their light combat aircraft, “Agni” ballistic missile, “Shaurya” canister-launched hypersonic surface-to-surface missile and “Rohini” radars.

The Parade, which is expected to last an hour and 24 minutes, will start at 10 a.m. on January 26 with the national salute and will be followed by the investiture ceremony for the presentation of three Ashok Chakras. Ten military bands and 13 pipes and drums of various regiments would provide music for the Parade.

The Indian Army would be represented at the Parade by 61 cavalry, eight mechanised columns, eight marching contingents and a fly past by “Dhruv” advanced light helicopters of Army Aviation. Nine serving, retired and civil awardees of the Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra will also participate.

Other Parade participants include the Border Security Force, Assam Rifles, Coast Guard, Central Reserve Police Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force, Sashastra Seema Bal, Railway Protection Force, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme.

In the cultural pageant section, the States of Rajasthan, Manipur, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Tripura, Jammu and Kashmir, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Mizoram and Uttarakhand will put up tableaux. The Central Public Works Department, NHPC and the Ministries of Rural Department, Railways, Culture, Agriculture, Tribal Affairs and Youth Affairs will also be part of the pageant.

The children’s pageant will comprise five performances by school children.

A motorcycle display by the BSF will be followed by a fly-past by aircraft and helicopters of the Indian Air Force.

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