Amid a massive surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, the number of people that would be allowed to attend the Republic Day parade this year would be curtailed by 70-80 per cent to approximately 5,000 to 8,000, senior officials of the defence ministry said on Tuesday. Besides, the decision on whether chief guests will come or not for this year's parade is yet to be taken by the Ministry of External Affairs, the officials mentioned.
Last year, approximately 25,000 people were allowed to attend the Republic Day parade and there was no chief guest.
Meanwhile, 12 states and Union Territories and nine ministries and departments will showcase their tableaux at the parade. The states which have been selected include Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Chattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Over the controversy of states complaining that their tableaux were not being selected, the government stated that polite responses had been sent to states who have objected to their tableaux not being selected. "There will be no revision of the decisions," a government source told news agency IANS.
1000 drones to display multiple formations in sky
To encourage a startup led by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, for the first time in the country, a drone show consisting of 1,000 drones will be held during the Beating Retreat event in Republic Day celebrations this year, said an official from the Ministry of Defence.
After China, Russia and UK, India will be the fourth country to perform drone show.
The official said that this year, the Beating Retreat ceremony will also witness projection mapping to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of Independence.
"Botlab Dynamics, a start-up incubated at IIT Delhi, will organize the show where 1,000 drones will configure themselves in multiple formations during the show," he added.
"Projection mapping on parapet of North and South block walls will be used to create immersive environment during the event. The theme will be 75 years of Independence," he added.
The Beating Retreat ceremony mainly consists of performances of the bands of the three services on the last day of Republic Day celebrations. The ceremony takes place at Vijay Chowk on January 29 every year.
Delhi-NCR under high-security cover after intel inputs of possible terror attack
Ahead of Republic Day, the Delhi-National Capital Region has been put under a "very high-security" cover after police received inputs from Intelligence agencies about a possible terror attack, officials said on Tuesday.
Operation of sub-conventional aerial platforms, including UAVs, paragliders and hot air balloons, over the national capital has been prohibited in the city from January 20 in view of Republic Day celebrations, according to a Delhi Police order issued on Tuesday.
The order shall come into force from January 20 and remain in effect till February 15.
The order has been issued by Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana in the wake of reports of the possibility of certain criminal or anti-social elements or terrorists posing a threat to the safety of the general public, dignitaries and vital installations, it said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Deepak Yadav said in view of Republic Day, the security has been tightened with the entire area where the celebration would take place being placed under multiple CCTVs fitted with facial recognition software.
All units of the Delhi Police, including local police, Special Cell, Special Branch, Traffic, SWAT (all-woman Special Weapons and Tactics) and teams from the National Security Guard will also be part of deployment besides the paramilitary forces, he said.
"Anti-drone arrangement systems have been put up at two different locations. Police personnel will also be deployed on high rise buildings for extra vigil. There's also an air defence gun to keep a watch and tackle any hostile aircraft," the DCP said.
According to Delhi Police, there is a three-layered security system in place and the force is always alert and undertakes anti-terror measures especially ahead of any event of national importance.
"We are focusing on anti-terror and sabotage activities. Although, it is a usual protocol, we do it especially ahead of any event of national importance. With the upcoming Republic Day event, we have intensified our activities and deployed extra manpower," another senior police officer said.
(With input from agencies)