Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane said the seating capacity was cut down to just about 45,000 – from more than a lakh in the pre-Covid time. For the first time and probably for the last time, Indian Navy’s ageing work horse IL-38 surveillance aircraft will fly over the Kartavya Path.
The week-long celebration will be sashayed by a mega drone show at the Beating Retreat ceremony and a 3-D colourful visual show on the façades of North and South Block, according to the Defence Ministry’s announcement on Wednesday that public attendance at this year’s Republic Day parade would be reduced by more than 50% compared to the pre-Covid days.
As part of a 50-plane fly-past that will also feature formation flying by the IAF’s nine Rafale combat jets, the Indian Navy’s ageing workhorse IL-38 surveillance aircraft will fly over the Kartavya Path for the first—and perhaps final—time. It will be notable that the homegrown Tejas Light Combat Aircraft won’t be present.
Republic Day With Roaring Rafales And A Drone Demonstration
According to Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane, the seating capacity was reduced from more than a lakh in the pre-Covid era to just about 45,000 to allow regular people to visit and enjoy the newly paved centre boulevard and the surrounding lawns till the very last minute. Ironically, the number of seats has decreased during a year when Jan Bhagidari, or public engagement, is the national parade’s main subject.
Nearly 32,000 tickets, according to Aramane, were on sale, but the ministry significantly cut back on the invitations it distributed to VIPs and guests. “In the past, we sent 50,000–60,000 invitations to visitors and officials and an additional 10,000–15,000 to VIPs. However, according to Defence Ministry Joint Secretary Rajesh Ranjan, only about 12,000 invitations will be sent this year.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Ranjan, more than one lakh people attended the Republic Day parade, which was a major lure for Delhi residents who braved the brisk morning air to get there. The number was reduced in the past two years to 24–5000.
President Abdul Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt will be the head guest of the 74th Republic Day parade, which will feature a 120-member Egyptian marching group. Abide With Me, a Christian hymn Mahatma Gandhi loved, was removed from the Beating Retreat, which would solely feature Indian music. After the bands’ performance, 3,500 drones would illuminate the sky over Raisina Hills, weaving a variety of national figures and events in perfectly timed patterns. The drone display will be run by Botlabs Dynamics, a startup that IIT Delhi has helped to nurture.
The festivities will start with a two-day celebration of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s 126th birthday, during which the Indian Armed Forces will display a variety of martial arts, including Gatka, Mallakhamb, Kalaripayattu, and Thang-ta. There would also be performances by well-known vocalist Kailash Kher and a traditional dance from different tribes.
India’s Republic Day is a yearly holiday commemorating the adoption of the country’s constitution on January 26, 1950.
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