New Delhi: India's military might and rich cultural diversity were in full display during the dazzling 68th Republic Day celebrations in the national capital which had Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the chief guest.
Light rains and overcast skies failed to dampen the enthusiasm of thousands of spectators who witnessed the nearly one-and-half hour-long parade that marched down the majestic Rajpath, India's ceremonial boulevard, amid unprecedented security cover.
A major highlight of the parade was 149-member marching contingent from the UAE comprising personnel from Presidential Guards, the Air Force, the Navy and Army. They were led by a band comprising 35 musicians from that country.
Al Nahyan, also Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE armed forces, was seated next to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who wore a pink-colour turban. The two leaders were seen sharing some light moments.
For the first time, a contingent of the National Security Guard (NSG), popularly known as the Black Cat Commandos, was part of the march past.
The parade also saw the fly-past of three LCA Tejas Aircraft flying at a height of 300 metres in 'Vic' formation and the Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) developed by DRDO.
The Army's missile firing capability T-90 'Bhishma' tank, Infantry Combat Vehicle BMP-2K, Mobile Autonomous Launcher of the BrahMos Missile System, Weapon Locating Raddar 'Swathi' and Akash Weapons System and Dhanush Gun System were among the main draw in the mechanised columns.
Alongside the Crown Prince, the ceremonial parade was watched by Vice President Hamid Ansari, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and the country's top political and military brass, besides the diplomatic community.
Tableaux from 17 states and union territories and six central ministries and departments showcased the varied historical, art and cultural heritage of the country. Goods and Services Tax (GST) was the theme of the tableau of Central Board of Excise and Customs.
Twenty-one of the 25 children who won the National Bravery Award also participated in the parade. Four children have received the award posthumously.
The grand finale of the parade was a spectacular flypast by the Indian Air Force which displayed various formations like 'Chakra' and 'Vic' leaving the spectators spell-bound.
The 'Hercules' formation comprising three C-130J Super Hercules aircraft also drew loud cheers.
Republic Day was celebrated across India with the governors unfurling the national tricolour across all states.
In Jammu nad Kashmir, governor NN Vohra unfurled the tricolour at winter capital Jammu.
In Himachal Pradesh, Republic Day was celebrated with usual enthusiasm and fervor and hundreds of people assembled at the historic Ridge Ground at the state level function, braving intense cold and heavy rains.
Governor Acharya Devvrat unfurled the tricolor and took salute at an impressive march past.
In Uttarakhand, Governor K K Paul unfurled the tricolour and took the ceremonial salute at a ceremony on Parade Ground in the presence of Chief Minister Harish Rawat. While in Punjab, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal unfurled the National Flag at Mohali.
In Haryana, Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki unfurled the national flag at a function in Kurukshetra and called upon the people to promote the great traditions of Indian civilisation to eliminate social evils. In Chattisgarh, Governor Balram ji Das Tandon unfurled the tricolour in Raipur.
"Republic Day in Rajasthan"
The Republic Day in Rajasthan were celebrated in jodhpur ,where Governor Kalayan Singh hoisted the National flag in state level function held & took salute at march past presented by different ensembles. The ceremony was graced by the presence of state C.M. Vasundra Raje,
Deputy Superintendent of police Devendra Singh Rajawat lead the march past procession.
In this state level ceremony governor honored various government & non government officials for their outstanding contribution in state among who honored by governor include Dr. Lokesh Chandra Sharma, PRO governor house.
On the Thursday 68th republic day celebration was organized with great enthusiasm in Udaipur,where state home minister hoisted tri color, inspected the parade and took salute of the march past. At this juncture kataria informed the developments made in Udaipur he said that due to the collective efforts Udaipur tourism ranked first in North India. DEWAS projects stating in lifeline of the Udaipur city.
The government has committed to finish it. He expressed the gratitude of the people participating in opinion poll made by government of India with great enthusiasm ,so that Udaipur is included in the list of smart city. At this occasion kataria awarded 96 celebrities for their remarkable achievement in public services.
On this occasion parade commander Vikram Singh lead 18 different contingents in parade. During the ceremony pageantry extracted glimpse, Bharat scouts & guide have received the 1st prize while Nagar Nigam & department of social justice jointly declared 2nd while 3rd reward was given to glimpses of medical and health department.
The flag hoisting, march past, culture glimpse were observed in educational institutes, NGO's while flag hoisting ceremony & award for outstanding services were given in HZL, RSMM, Wonder Cement, Geetanjali , Pacific University & medical college GBH American, MLSU, MPUAT,, Rajasthan Vidhyapeeth etc. DM and Divisional commissioner hoisted tri color at their respective offices
Rajsamand district level R day celebrated at Govt. Sr. Sec. School Kankroli where Kiran Maheshwari hoisted the tri color, inspected parade & took salute. She awarded certificate of excellence to 35 officials.
At khushalbhag Banswara State Minister Dhan Singh Rawat hoisted the flag & felicitated the Martyr Harshit Bhadoriya mother & father.
In Dungarpur the district level ceremony organized atlakshan ground where state PHED Minister sushil Katara hoisted tri color & inspected march past.