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Republic Day 2019: 'Nari shakti', military might on display at parade
India's 70th Republic Day: Theme for the Republic Day celebrations this year was the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Catch LIVE updates on R-Day celebrations
Today, India celebrated its 70th Republic Day. The celebration began with the ceremonial parade at Rajpath, amid tight security in Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his tributes to the martyrs by laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti in the presence of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the three service chiefs. The chief guest of this Republic Day was South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. At the unfurling of the tricolour, the band played the national anthem with a 21-gun salute fired in the background. Many senior leaders, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and Deve Gowda, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Ghulam Nabi Azad and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were among those present on the occasion.
The overall theme for the Republic Day celebrations this year is the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and tableaux of many states, themed on him, are lined up for the occasion.
India's military might was also on display, with the artillery gun system M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers, recently acquired from the US, and K9 Vajra, a self-propelled artillery gun, showcased on Rajpath, being new additions this year.
'Nari Shakti' (women power) was on full display on the ceremonial boulevard with an all-woman Assam Rifles contingent creating history this year by participating for the first time in the parade, which was led by Maj Khushboo Kanwar.
Contingents of the Navy, Army Service Corps and a unit of Corps of Signals (transportable satellite terminal) were led by women officers too, as the crowd cheered.
The march began with showering of flower petals by helicopters led by the parade commander, parade second-in-command and Param Vir Chakra and Ashoka Chakra awardees.
The Indian Army's T-90 tank, Ballway Machine Pikate (BMP-II/IIK), Surface Mine Clearing System, 155 mm/52 Calibre Tracked Self-propelled Gun (K-9 Vajra), Transportable Satellite Terminal, Troop Level Radar and Akash Weapon System were also showcased at the parade.