New Delhi, Jan 26: On the occasion of India’s 75th Republic Day, the nation resplendently commemorated the day with a captivating display of both its military prowess and rich cultural heritage.
Kartavya Path, a ceremonial boulevard that runs from Rashtrapati Bhavan on Raisina Hill through India Gate in the heart of New Delhi bore witness to the spectacle, drawing thousands of spectators who marvelled at the vibrant parade.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who was the chief guest at the event, joined the festivities on Friday.
The event marked the celebration of India's Constitution adoption on January 26, 1950, following the nation’s liberation from British rule.
President Draupadi Murmu accompanied President Macron in a ceremonial horse-drawn carriage, a relic from the British era, making its grand return after four decades of being replaced by automobiles.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, adorned in a saffron-and-yellow turban, warmly welcomed President Macron at the viewing stand.
It has become a tradition for India to extend invitations to foreign leaders, with Macron joining the distinguished list that includes leaders like Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Francois Hollande, and Barack Obama in previous years.
The parade showcased an impressive array of military hardware, including tanks, missile systems, infantry combat vehicles, and medium-range surface-to-air missile systems.
Accompanying them were hundreds of Police and military personnel, marching in precision.
The spectacle also featured daring stunt performers on motorbikes, with an impressive contingent of over 250 women participating.
President Macron, who accepted India's invitation on short notice after US President Joe Biden’s unavailability due to his State of the Union address and re-election bid, expressed his gratitude, saying, “A great honour for France. Thank you, India.”
Earlier, President Droupadi Murmu unfurled the national flag at the Kartavya Path.
The flag unfurling was followed by the national anthem with a booming 21-gun salute given with the indigenous gun system 105-mm Indian Field Guns.
Four Mi-17 IV helicopters of the 105 Helicopter Unit then showered flower petals on the audience present at Kartavya Path.
After the conclusion of the Republic Day parade, Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked down the ceremonial boulevard of Kartvya Path and waved to spectators who had attended the enthralling display of the country's military prowess and its varied culture.
The audience erupted into cheers, warmly greeting the PM with claps and chants of Bharat Mata ki Jai.
The Prime Minister after some time crossed over to the other side of the Kartvaya Path and continued to wave to the spectators in the enclosures.
PM Modi who is known for his sartorial choices opted to wear a multi-coloured turban with the predominant colour yellow.
Along with the beautiful Rajasthani Bandhini print turban with a long tail, the PM was dressed in a kurta pyjama that he teamed with a brown Nehru jacket. The entire look perfectly conveyed his love for the nation, and its religious beliefs, and represented the ideology of unity in diversity.
Republic Day celebrations commenced with Prime Minister Modi arriving at the National War Memorial this morning where he paid floral tributes to fallen heroes by laying a wreath and concluded with the National Anthem.
At the close of the ceremony, President Droupadi Murmu and Republic Day Parade Chief Guest France President Emmanuel Macron were escorted by the President's Bodyguard- 'Rashtrapati Ke Angrakshak' as they departed for Rashtrapati Bhavan.