New Delhi: Celebrations of India’s 70th Republic Day began amidst tight security in the national capital area, with the traditional grand military parade on Rajpath.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial at India Gate and along with the three chiefs of the armed forces paid homage to Indian security forces who lost their lives in combat.
President Ram Nath Kovind, the first lady and the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who is the chief guest this year, arrived in a carcade escorted by 46 President’s Bodyguards on magnificent bay and dark Bay coloured mounts. The open buggy traditionally used to escort the chief guest was done away this year owing to security concerns.
The President unfurled the National Flag unfurled followed by a 21-gun salute, after which he presented the Ashok Chakra conferred posthumously to Lance Naik Nazir Ahmed Wani to his wife Mehajabeen.
Fifty-eight tribal guests from various parts of the country, 22 tableaux of states and central government departments and performance by school children are part of the 90-minute dazzling Republic Day parade.
For the first time in the history of the paramilitary, an all-women contingent from the Assam Rifles participated in the parade.