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R-Day parade: What's new, what's curtailed due to COVID-19 on January 26

ANI | Updated: Jan 24, 2021 04:58 IST


New Delhi [India], January 23 (ANI): With just three days to go for Republic Day, India is all set to display its military might during the annual parade. However, the Republic Day parade of this year will be very different from previous years as it is for the first time that it will be held amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are the misses/curtailments due to COVID-19 and new additions in the Republic Day parade 2021.
Curtailments--
1. This year, only 25,000 spectators will witness the Republic Day parade. Last year, 150,000 spectators were allowed. The number of media persons, too, has been cut from 300 to 200.
2. The spectators will watch and notice various new things. Jawans will be seen wearing masks and instead of 12X12 contingent system, this year it will be 12X8 contingent system. It means, instead of 144 jawans, there will be 96 jawans in one contingent.
3. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Republic Day Parade this year will end at the National Stadium instead of going up to the Red Fort where it usually concludes. The distance for the march has been reduced by 50 per cent. According to Major General Alok Kacker, the contingent strength too has been reduced from 144 to 96 in wake of the pandemic.
4. The veteran marching contingent or tableaux will not be present this year and no child below the age of 15 will take part in the parade.
5. This will be the first R-Day parade without a chief guest in more than five decades. UK PM Boris Johnson, who had initially accepted India's invitation to be a chief guest, had cancelled his visit due to the rapid rise of Covid-19 cases in the United Kingdom. There was no chief guest during the Republic Day parade in 1952, 1953 and 1966 before this.
Additions--
1. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for the first time will have its own tableau during the Republic Day parade. "This year we will be having our own tableau and its theme will be combat skills of CRPF in conflict zones. Also, this year, all jawans will be wearing masks and will be maintaining social distancing as told by the government," said Inspector General, Training, CRPF RK Yadav, the reserve force.
2. CRPF tableau is set to wow spectators with a display of panoramic four-eyed night vision goggles (NVGs), a warfare gadget similar to the ones used by United States Navy SEALs in their operation to eliminate Osama Bin Laden. The goggles, also known as the 'king of night vision', are expected to be the centre of attraction in the first tableau of CRPF commandos marching down Rajpath. The specially-equipped goggles provide a 120-degree vision to commandos at night, just like viewing with naked eyes. They are lightweight and can be worn on the helmet during night operations.

3. A total of 38 Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft and four helicopters of the Indian Army will participate in the flypast at the Republic Day parade on January 26 this year. The formations that will be seen during the parade include 'Rudra', 'Sudharshan', 'Rakshak', 'Eklavya' and 'Brahmastra'.
4. According to Indian Air Force, the newly inducted Rafale fighter aircraft will feature in the Republic Day parade and culminate the flypast by carrying out the 'Vertical Charlie' formation.
5. A Bangladeshi tri-service contingent will lead the first ten rows of the Republic Day parade in New Delhi to commemorate 50 years of the Liberation War. The contingent will be lead by the Bangladesh Army which will be in the first six rows, the next two rows will be led by the Bangladesh Navy and the last two rows will comprise of Bangladesh Air Force.
6. Indian Navy's tableau will showcase its stellar role as a credible force during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. As per a statement issued by the Indian Navy, the theme of the tableau for the 2021 Republic Day Parade is titled 'Indian Navy Combat Ready, Credible and Cohesive'.
7. The upgraded Schilika weapon system will roll down in Rajpath for the first time this year in the Republic Day parade, led by the only woman contingent commander from the Army.
"The upgraded Schilka to roll down Rajpath for the first time this year. It can track and shoot enemy targets up to 2 kilometers on the ground and about 2.5 kilometers in the air," Captain Preeti Chowdhary told ANI.
Other highlights---
Divyangi Tripathi, who topped the CBSE class XII exams in Gorakhpur has been invited to witness the Republic Day Parade from the Prime Minister's Box in Delhi, along with other meritorious students from across the country. Divyangi had scored 99.6 per cent in the CBSE exams last year.
"I am very excited about this. It's a very good initiative launched by the Government. Students from all sections of society are selected without any discrimination," said Tripathi on receiving the invitation from the government.
Uttar Pradesh's tableau will feature a replica of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, which is currently under construction. It will also display the culture, tradition and art related to the temple town.
The Republic Day Tableau of Punjab for 2021 will reflect the theme of the unparalleled and supreme sacrifice of Ninth Sikh Guru Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur.
Uttarakhand's tableau will represent 'Kedarkhand' in Republic Day parade. The front portion of the tableau displays the state animal musk deer, state bird monal pheasant and state flower Brahmakamal whereas behind these a model of the Kedarnath temple compound has been displayed along with devotees. (ANI)

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