Sixteen marching contingents, 25 different tableaux, 17 military bands and much, much more awaits us as India gears up for the Republic Day Parade on 26 January.
Here’s what we can expect from the parade, which is guaranteed to be a spectacle like no other.
Time and place of the parade
The Republic Day Parade will be held on 26 January at 10.30 am. This is the first change that the government had announced in regards to the parade. The defence ministry decided to push the parade back by 30 minutes keeping in mind the foggy conditions that have been predicted for the day.
Additionally, keeping the surge in COVID-19 cases in mind, the parade which starts from Raisina Hills and goes through Rajpath, India Gate till Red Fort would now only go up to the National Stadium.
Crowds at R-Day parade
As the country is witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases, the number of people at the parade has also been curtailed.
Approximately 24,000 people will be allowed to attend the Republic Day parade this year.
Sources, according to an NDTV report, said, "Out of the approximately 24,000 people who will be attending the parade this year, 19,000 are invited and the rest are the general public, who can purchase tickets."
Before the pandemic erupted, in 2020, around 1.25 lakh people were permitted.
The Delhi Police has also issued a set of guidelines for those attending the R-Day parade.
The guidelines state that people attending the Republic Day parade must be fully vaccinated against COVID and children below 15 years of age will not be allowed to attend the function.
The Delhi Police also said that people will have to adhere to all COVID-protocols, such as wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing, at the programme on Rajpath.
Highlights of the parade
PTI reported that 16 marching contingents would participate in this year's parade. Of these, eight will be of Indian Armed Forces, four of central Armed Police Force, two of NCC and one each of Delhi Police and NSS.
The army will be represented by a mounted column of cavalry, 14 mechanised columns, six marching contingents and a flypast by advanced light helicopters of its aviation wing at the Republic Day parade 2022.
The mechanised columns of the army will show one PT-76 tank, one Centurion tank, two MBT Arjun MK-I tanks, one APC TOPAS armoured personnel carriers, one BMP-I infantry fighting vehicle and two BMP-II infantry fighting vehicles.
Also, one 75/24 Pack howitzer, two Dhanush howitzers, one PMS bridge-laying system, two Sarvatra bridge-laying systems, one HT-16 electronic warfare system, two Taran Shakti electronic warfare systems, one Tiger Cat missile system and two Akash missile systems will also be part of the mechanised columns.
The government also announced that the six marching contingents of the Indian Army will be of Rajput Regiment, Assam Regiment, Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, Sikh Light Infantry, Army Ordnance Corps Regiment and Parachute Regiment.
PTI also reported that Lieutenant General Vijay Kumar Mishra, General Officer Commanding Delhi Area, will be the parade commander and Major General Alok Kacker, Chief of Staff Delhi Area, will be the second-in-command of the parade.
Another report also stated that the Indian Army would showcase how its uniforms and rifles have evolved over the decades at this year's Republic Day Parade.
Major General Alok Kakkar in a statement said that three marching contingents of the Indian Army would wear uniforms and sport rifles from previous decades, while one contingent would be wearing the new combat uniform and carrying the latest Tavor rifles during the parade.
Explaining further, Major General Kakkar said that Rajput regiment soldiers will sport the 1950s uniform and carry 303 rifles.
The second marching contingent of the Assam regiment soldiers will wear the 1960s uniform of the Indian Army and carry 303 rifles.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry regiment will wear the 1970s uniform and carry 7.62 mm self-loading rifles. They will form the third marching contingent.
The Sikh Light Infantry and Army Ordnance Corps Regiment will form the fourth and fifth marching contingents, respectively and will be wearing the current uniform of the Army and carry 5.56 mm Insas rifles.
The parade will also see two motor-cycle formations. The women's team will be of BSF and men's team will be of ITBP.
Largest flypast with 75 aircraft
The Republic Day parade at the Rajpath this year will see the "grandest and largest" flypast ever with the participation of 75 aircraft to mark the ‘Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav’ celebrations, IAF PRO Wing Commander Indranil Nandi said.
In line with the Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav celebrations, this year's parade will include five Rafale that will fly over the Rajpath in the Vinaash formation.
Indian Navy’s MiG29K and P-8I surveillance aircraft will fly in the Varuna formation, while 17 Jaguar fighter aircraft will fly in the shape of the number '75', said IAF PRO Wing Commander Indranil Nandi.
Besides this, ALH in Rudra formation along with four Mi17 V5 aircraft will also be a part of the largest flypast.
Tableaux at the parade
According to the Centre, a total of 25 tableaux of various states, departments and armed forces will participate in the parade.
According to the government, a total of 12 floats from the states will participate and the rest will come from the different ministries and the Armed Forces. The overarching theme for the tableaux is ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, which is meant to commemorate 75 years of Independence.
The tableau issue became a huge sticking point after West Bengal and Tamil Nadu wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over their exclusion from the Republic Day parade.
New feature at the parade
One new feature that shall be presented at the parade will be the installation of 10 large LED screens — five on each side of Rajpath. These screens will showcase curated films combining footage from previous Republic Day Parades and short films on the Armed Forces will be screened before the parade begins.
With inputs from agencies