Republic Day 2019: India displays military might, cultural grandeur at Rajpath; women contingent leads way

Republic Day 2019: This year, the overall theme for the Republic Day celebrations was the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and tableaux of many states, themed on him. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

Seventy years since the birth of its Constitution, India celebrated Republic Day on Saturday with a grand annual parade at Rajpath amid heavy security cover. The ceremonial parade rolled down the majestic Rajpath with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in attendance as the chief guest along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman among several other leaders. Ramaphosa is the second South African president, after Nelson Mandela, to attend the grand event as its chief guest.

The event started with PM Modi paying his tributes to the martyrs by laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti after which President Kovind unfurled the national flag with the national anthem being played in the accompaniment of booming 21 gun salute in the background. The well-coordinated gun salute by seven cannons of 2281 Field Regiment starts with the first note of the national anthem and ends with the last. Special clocks are used to measure time in smaller units for precision.

Soon after this, President Kovind awarded the Ashoka Chakra — India’s highest peacetime gallantry honour — to Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, a militant-turned-soldier who was martyred while fighting a group of six…

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