As India commemorated its 70th Republic Day with pomp and pageantry on Saturday, it showcased to the world its latent military might and cultural grandeur as well as innermost respect for the Gandhian spirit.
The theme for the Republic Day celebrations this time was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, due to his 150th birth anniversary. Tableaux of many states thus themed on him.
Organised amid heavy security cover, the ceremonial parade rolled down the majestic Rajpath with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in attendance as the chief guest along with President Ram Nath Kovind , Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman among several other leaders.
Ramaphosa is the second South African president, after Nelson Mandela, to attend the grand event as its chief guest.
Earlier in the day, the event commenced with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying his tributes to the martyrs by laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate.
Following this, President Kovind unfurled the national flag with the national anthem being played in the accompaniment of booming 21 gun salute in the background.
The patriotic fervour was overwhelming for everyone present there since early morning to watch the majestic parade.
The ceremonial boulevard – the Rajpath – was the centre of attraction as the country took out a parade of its forces in different groups and tableaus as President Ram Nath Kovind inspected the parade with fervour.
As soldiers marched past the Rajpath while the Indian Army tanks rolled on it, it was followed by colourful tableaux made on different themes.
Several States, organisations and Government departments highlighted their accomplishments through 22 tableaux this time.
Meanwhile, continuing his style of greeting the crowd after the Republic Day parade, Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked on the Rajpath greeting people amid chants of “Modi, Modi”.
Donning a yellow orange headgear with a red tail and kurta pajama and Nehru jacket, the Prime Minister waved to the crowds enthusiastically as he zig-zagged the Rajpath, closely followed by security personnel and his slow-moving motorcade.
The Prime Minister started his walk soon after President Ram Nath Kovind and his South African counterpart and chief guest at the Republic Day parade, Cyril Ramaphosa, left Rajpath.
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As Modi went close to the seating enclosures, some chanted “Modi, Modi” while others captured the moment on their mobile phones and cameras.
The event concluded for the day with the flypast which commenced with the Rudra formation comprising three ALH Mk IV WSI helicopters and featured Sukhois, MiG fighter jets.