Republic Day parade to be women-centric, showcasing India as ‘mother of democracy’

French President Emmanuel Macron to be the chief guest; around 13,000 special guests pan India have been invited to witness the parade

January 19, 2024 08:31 pm | Updated January 23, 2024 06:59 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A military police woman gives command as an all-women IAF contingent marches past during a rehearsal for the Republic Day Parade 2024 at the Kartavya Path, in New Delhi on January 18, 2024.

A military police woman gives command as an all-women IAF contingent marches past during a rehearsal for the Republic Day Parade 2024 at the Kartavya Path, in New Delhi on January 18, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

The country’s cultural heritage and diversity will take centre stage at this year’s Republic Day parade on January 26, showcasing India as the ‘mother of democracy’ and will also be women-centric. For the first time, the parade will commence with music played using Indian musical instruments by 100 women artists,instead of the military band as was earlier, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane said on Friday. In a first for another country, French Rafale fighter jets will fly over Kartavya Path, in addition to a French marching contingent as French President Emmanuel Macron looks on as the chief guest.

A 144 personnel tri-Service women contingent would be participating in the parade this time for the first time with 48 personnel from each service. Also, the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) latest induction, the C-295 medium transport aircraft, will make debut over Kartavya Path during the fly-past. All the cultural performances will be by women, around 1,300, the highest number of performers ever. In addition, around 13,000 achievers in various fields and those who excelled through various government schemes will be special invitees at the parade.

Also Read | In a first, Navy to have mixed marching contingent at Republic Day parade

“The main themes of this year’s parade is ‘Viksit Bharat’ and ‘Bharat — Loktantra ki Matruka’ and around 13,000 special guests pan India have been invited to witness the parade,” Mr. Aramane told the media. The objective of inviting special guests is to provide an opportunity to the people from all walks of life to “take part in the national festival, in line with the government’s vision of Jan Bhagidari.”

“A 95-member marching contingent and 33-member band contingent from France will also take part in the parade. Along with the aircraft of the Indian Air Force, one Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft and two Rafale aircraft of the French Air Force will participate in the fly-past,” the Defence Secretary said.

| Video Credit: Indian Air Force

He said women marching contingents would form the major chunk of the parade, and most of the tableaux of States and union territories as well as Central ministries and organisations showcasing the country’s rich cultural diversity, unity and progress. ‘Anant Sutra — the endless thread’ showcasing nearly 1,900 sarees and drapes from every corner of the country to be another highlight, Mr. Aramane said. “We will see the most colourful backdrop in the RD parade ever.”

In addition to the tri-Service contingent, the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) contingents would have all-women contingents, the Defence Secretary said. “Best representation of women will be seen in this year’s parade.”

The parade would start at 10.30 a.m. and run for a duration of approximately 90 minutes. The seating capacity at Kartavya Path is 77,000, of which 42,000 is reserved for the general public.

Also Read | 8,000 personnel to man Capital ahead of Republic Day

Military display

A total of 51 aircraft comprising 29 fighters and eight transport aircraft of the IAF, 13 helicopters and one heritage aircraft would participate in this year’s fly-past, said Wg Cdr Manish Sharma, briefing the media earlier in the day. These include four helicopters of the Army and one P-8i maritime patrol aircraft of the Navy which would fly in two separate formations. “A total of 48 Agniveervayu Women would be part of this contingent. Flight Lieutenant Shrishti Verma would be marching as supernumerary Officer of the (tri-Service) contingent,” he stated.

A C-295 transport aircraft flanked by two C-130 aircraft in echelon will fly as the Arjan formation during the fly-past, said IAF spokesperson Wg Cdr Ashish Moghe. The IAF inducted the first C-295 in September last year, which will replace the legacy HS-748 Avro transport aircraft in service.

Special guests

The 13,000 special guests invited include best performers in various fields and those who made best use of around 30 government schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Rural and Urban), PM Ujjwala Yojana, PM Street Vendor’s Aatmanirbhar Nidhi among others. Sarpanches of vibrant villages, women workers of swachh bharat abhiyan, electronic manufacturing sectors, central vista project, women ISRO scientists, yoga teachers, winners of international sports events and paralympic medalists will also attend the parade. Best self-help groups, farmers’ producer organisations, those who were referred in PM Mann ki Baat programme, and ‘Super-100’ of Project Veer Gatha 3.0 and winners of national school band competition will also be present. These special guests will be prominently seated at Kartavya Path, officials said.

In order to promote scientific temper in the country, patent granting and copyright issuing regimes have been liberalised, Mr. Aramane noted and to showcase this, several patent and copyright holders have also been invited as special guests.

Also Read | Flight operations to remain suspended for over two hours daily at Delhi airport till January 26

A total of 25 tableaux from 16 States and union territories and nine ministries and departments will roll down Kartavya Path. As reported by The Hindu earlier, the Defence Ministry has come up with three-year roll over plan in the backdrop of complaints and controversies over the selection of States’ tableau which “ensures equitable participation on a rotational basis of all States and union territories over a period of three years.” All States will get a chance to showcase a tableau in three years, Mr. Aramane added.

The IAF marching contingent of 144 personnel will be led by Squadron Leader Rashmi Thakur with Squadron Leader Sumita Yadav, Squadron Leader Pratiti Ahluwalia and Flight Lieutenant Kirti Rohil as supernumerary Officers. They will be marching to the tune ‘Sound Barrier’ played by 72 lAF musicians and three drum majors. The band will be led by Sergeant CA Daniel.

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