India marked a historic milestone with its 75th Republic Day celebrations today, January 26, 2024. The nation's capital hosted a grand parade at Kartavya Path, showcasing India's military prowess and cultural diversity, with a special emphasis on Nari Shakti or women's empowerment.
French President Emmanuel Macron, the chief guest, joined Indian President Droupadi Murmu in leading the festivities.
Here's all you need to know about India's 75th Republic Day celebrations:
For the first time, an all-women tri-services contingent participated in the parade. Fifteen women pilots were part of the Indian Air Force's fly-past. The contingents of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) also consisted of only women personnel.
In another historic first, Lieutenants Deepti Rana and Priyanka Sevda, who are among 10 women officers commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery for the first time last year, led the 'Swathi' weapon locating radar and Pinaka rocket system at the parade on Kartavya Path.
The parade was heralded by over 100 women artistes playing Indian musical instruments such as Sankh, Naadswaram, and Nagada for the first time instead of the traditional military bands.
India's armed forces exhibited indigenous military hardware, including missiles, drone jammers, surveillance systems, vehicle-mounted mortars, and BMP-II infantry combat vehicles.
The ceremony began with Prime Minister Narendra Modi paying homage at the National War Memorial. President Murmu, accompanied by President Macron, then took the salute at the parade, which began at 10:30 am.
A combined band and marching contingent of the French Armed Forces joined the parade, reflecting the strong bilateral ties between India and France.
Sixteen tableaux from various states and Union territories, along with nine from central ministries and departments, rolled down Kartavya Path, depicting India's rich cultural tapestry. These tableaux will also highlight the theme of "women empowerment".
Notably, the newly consecrated Ram Mandir in Ayodhya featured prominently in Uttar Pradesh's tableau.
Over 70,000 security personnel have been deployed throughout New Delhi to ensure the safety of the event. Traffic advisories and restrictions are in place to facilitate smooth vehicular movement during the celebrations.
It is estimated that around 77,000 spectators witnessed the parade at Kartavya Path, with stringent security protocols, including commando deployments and anti-sabotage checks, ensuring their safety.
President Murmu and her French counterpart Emmanuel Macron arrived at Kartavya Path in the 'traditional buggy', a practice that made a comeback after a gap of 40 years.
No traffic movement has been allowed on Kartavya Path from Vijay Chowk to India Gate from 6 pm on Thursday. The restrictions will continue till the parade is over.