Nation gets set to celebrate 61st Republic Day

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New Delhi, Jan.25 (ANI): India will celebrate its 61st Republic Day on Wednesday with the usual armed forces march past and culturally rich fanfare.

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders will lead the nation in celebrating the event in the heart of the national capital amidst unprecedented security.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife Ani Bambang Yudhoyono will be the chief guests at this year's Republic Day parade celebrations, reflecting the importance that India attaches to its relationship with that Muslim-dominant nation.

He is the first head of state or government to pay an official or state visit to India in 2011.

President Yudhoyono and the accompanying Indonesian delegation will also attend the "At Home" hosted by the Indian President before leaving New Delhi late on Wednesday evening.

President Yudhoyono had last visited India in November 2005 when the two sides had elevated their relationship to the level of a strategic partnership.

At Wednesday's parade, the Army will display its T-90 main battle tanks (MBT), the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile and the Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) 'Dhruv'.

Marching contingents on Rajpath would include mounted troops from the 61st Cavalry, mechanized columns and eight regiments of the Indian Army followed by a fly-past of Advance Light Helicopter Dhruv from Army Aviation Corps," said parade second-in-command Brigadier Kuldeep Singh.

The General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Delhi Area, Major General Manvendra Singh, would command the parade.

The hour-and-a-half long parade would begin with the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister and the service chiefs paying homage to the martyred personnel of the armed forces at India Gate.

After the arrival of the Indian President and other dignitaries at the podium and the taking of the taking of the salute of the President's bodyguard, the President will present the Ashok Chakra posthumously to Major Laishram Jyotin Singh, who died fighting a suicide attacker during an attack on the Indian High Commission at Kabul.

The parade would begin with the three Paramvir Chakra awardees marching on the Rajpath, which would be followed by the mounted cavalry troops, mechanized column and ALH Dhruv.

Besides BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, army contingent would also feature PMS bridging columns used by the troops to make temporary bridges.

The army contingent would be followed by the tableaux from Indian Navy and Indian Air Force.

The Navy will showcase the aircraft carrier INS Viraat, while the Indian Air Force's marching contingent would be followed by the tableaux of Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AWACS) and Aerostat Radar.

The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) will showcase the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas' trainer version in its tableaux. It would also present the Soldier Support Systems and one of its radars.

From air force, a total of 28 aircraft and helicopter would enthrall the audience with their fly-past and other airborne manoeuvres.

The parade would be followed by the marching units of central para-military forces like Border Security Force (BSF), Assam Rifles (AR), Indian Coast Guards (ICG), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Delhi Police.

The march past would culminate with National Cadet Corps (NCC) and National Service Scheme (NSS) cadets marching down the Rajpath.

This year, the number of tableaux have been increased to 23 from last year's 21, while the number of cultural programmes has remained the same with five different activities.

The motorcycle display team at the end of the parade would consist men from Signal regiment of the Indian Army. (ANI)

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