Commonwealth mascot Shera, MBT Arjun to be 61st Republic Day attractions

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New Delhi, Jan.26 (ANI): Among the major attractions of the 61st Republic Day to be held today will be the Main Battle Tank Arjun, the Smerch Multiple Launch Rocket System, the Armoured Engineer Recce Vehicle, the Sarvatra Bridge, the Electronic Warfare System, Samyukta, ICV BMP-II Sarath, Ambulance Tracked and ALH Dhruv.

Also on view will be the indigenous systems being developed by the DRDO, including the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, Agni-III Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile, Shourya Surface-to-Surface Strategic Missile and the Rohini Radar.

Since New Delhi is hosting the Commonwealth Games in October this year, the Games mascot "Shera" will be the cynosure of all eyes along the eight-kilometer-long parade route. A bevy of sportspersons, including boxer Vijender Singh, wrestler Sushil Kumar, weightlifter K Malleshwari, athlete P T Usha, former hockey players Ajitpal Singh and Zafar Iqbal, shooter Samresh Jung, badminton player Gopichand Pullela, swimmer Khajan Singh and veteran Olympian Milkha Singh will be the star attractions of the parade.

The parade ceremony will commence at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate where the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, will lead the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying wreath.

An eternal flame burns at the Amar Jawan Jyoti to commemorate the indomitable courage of our Armed Forces personnel who have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the motherland. The Amar Jawan, the immortal soldier, is symbolised by a reversed rifle topped by a helmet.

As per tradition, after unfurling of the National Flag, the National Anthem will be played. Thereafter President Pratibha Devisingh Patil will confer the Ashok Chakra on Major D. Sreeram Kumar of 39 Assam Rifles, Major Mohit Sharma (posthumous) of 1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (Special Forces) and Havildar Rajesh Kumar (posthumous) of 11th Battalion, The Rajputana Rifles.

The parade will then commence and the President will take the salute. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is the chief guest of this year's parade.

The parade will be commanded by Lt. General Kanwaljeet Singh Oberoi, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area. Brigadier Kuldip Singh will be the parade's second-in-command.

Param Vir Chakra winners Subedar Major (Honorary captain) Bana Singh (retired), Havildar Sanjay Kumar, 13 JAK RIF and Havildar Yogendra Singh Yadav, 18 Grenadiers and Ashok Chakra Winners Lt Col Jas Ram Singh (retired), Brigadier CA Pithawalla, Cdr, HQ 3 Sect Rashtriya Rifles and Hony Naib subedar Chhering Mutup (retired) will follow in jeeps.

The marching contingents of Army will include the horse-mounted columns of the 61st Cavalry, the Brigade of the Guards, Madras Regiment, Jat Regiment, Sikh Regiment, Dogra Regiment, Bihar Regiment, Gorkha Regiment and the Territorial Army. The marching contingents of Navy comprising 144 men will be led by Lt. Commander Ajay Verma and the Air Force contingent comprising 148 men will be led by Sq. Leader. R. Katoch.

The marching contingents of paramilitary and other auxiliary civil forces will include contingents from the Border Security Force, Assam Rifles, Coast Guard, Central Reserve Police Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force, Sashastra Seema Bal, Railway Protection Force, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme. The Camel-mounted band of the Border Security Force will be another attraction.

Tableaux from 21 states and Central Ministries and Departments will present the varied historical, architectural and cultural heritage of the country. They will also showcase country's progress in different fields.

Nineteen of the 21 children selected for the National Bravery Award - 2009 will also participate in the parade. Two children have got the award posthumously.

In the children's pageant section, 750 boys and girls drawn from various schools will present dances and other programs.

Jaanbaz, the motorcycle display by the Border Security Force will see 178 riders on 34 motorcycles performing Border Man Salute, Back Riding, Ladder Balancing, Guldasta, Operation Tawar, Seema Chowki Buland, Seema Prahari and Flag March under the leadership of Inspector Gurpreet Singh. They will perform breathtaking stunts in a synchronized and synergetic display of mind, body and machine coordination.

The grand finale will be a spectacular fly-past by the IAF, with the AWACS participating in the Parade for the first time. One IL-78, flanked by two AN-32 and two Dornier, flying in Big Boy formation, will lead the fly-past.

This will be followed by one AWACS, flanked by two Su-30 MKI, flying in Sentry formation. Five Jaguars followed by five MiG-29 will fly in Arrowhead formation. The breathtaking Trishul formation comprising three Su-30 MKI would fly over the Rajpath and once in front of the saluting dais the Su-30MKI aircraft at the centre would carry out a Vertical Charlie manoeuvre.

The ceremony will culminate with the National Anthem and release of balloons. (ANI)

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