The Republic Day is celebrated every year on January 26, honours the day on which the Constitution of India came into effect on January 26, 1950, replacing the Government of India Act. The parade held in New Delhi is one of the important events of the celebration where the cultural diversity, military might and industrial strength of the country is showcased. The march begins from the Rashtrapati Bhavan and ends near the Red Fort. The preparations for the day begins months before the Republic Day. This year, India will celebrate its 69th Republic Day and will witness many firsts that make this year’s celebration special. We list 8 things in the Republic Day parade 2018 that makes it special.
- Leaders from all the 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member countries – Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and Brunei – will be the chief guests at the parade. This is the first time in the history of Independent India that the event will be attended by 10 head of states. For the first time, the ASEAN flag will fly in the sky in the parade.
- The flypast will have five Mi-17 V5 helicopters of the Indian Air Force to commemorate the summit meeting of India. The lead helicopter will carry the national flag, followed by the ASEAN flag and the three other helicopters will carry flags of Army, Navy and Air Force. Indigenously developed weapon system helicopter ‘Rudra’ will make its debut in the parade and the Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) ‘Netra’ will fly over the Rajpath. The flypast will see 21 fighters, 12 helicopters, and five transporters.
- Women personnel of the Border Security Force (BSF) will perform motorcycle act for the first time. The women squad has been named ‘Seema Bhavani’ or the ‘border braves’. The act will see 113 women bikers riding 26 350CC Royal Enfield motorcycles performing acrobatics and daredevil stunts at the parade. The act includes stunts such as ‘Pyramid’, ‘Shaktiman’, ‘Bull Fighting’, ‘Seema Prahari’ and ‘Fish Riding’, among others.
- All India Radio (AIR) will be leading a series of 23 tableaus and will feature ‘Mann Ki Baat’, the monthly radio programme, addressed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- The parade will see the participation of over 770 students performing kathak and folk dances of Thailand, Malaysia, and other countries. While 150 students will don the traditional attire of the 10 ASEAN countries.
- An Income Tax Department tableau will showcase the anti-black money drive that was launched post demonetisation. The tableau will represent the Operation Clean Money (OCM), its salient features and other interesting details launched by the Income Tax Department.
- A tableau of INS Vikrant will be part of the parade.
- India’s first long-range subsonic cruise missile ‘Nirbhay’, which carries warheads weighing up to 300 kg towards target located l,000 km, will be showcased at the parade.