Under an overcast sky on a bitterly cold morning, India’s 65th Republic Day parade Sunday showcased the country’s military might and rich cultural diversity, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – the chief guest – keenly observing the 90-minute proceedings.
There were apprehensions that the uncertain weather might force the cancellation or curtailment of the flypast that concludes the event but the mist lifted almost at the last minute.
Be it the army tanks, a scaled down naval submarine, the indigenous air force fighter jet, the marching contingents of the armed forces, the diverse tableaux and folk dances performed by enthusiastic schoolchildren, the spectators were definitely spoiled for choice as the parade unfolded.
The celebrations began with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday paying homage to the unknown soldier.
With the three service chiefs in attendance, Manmohan Singh laid a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial at India Gate in the heart of the city.
The prime minister, Defence Minister A.K. Anthony and others then observed a two-minute silence after the buglers sounded the Last Post.
Manmohan Singh signed the visitor’s book before heading to the saluting base on Rajpath for the parade.