No children, no Red Fort: Republic Day parade 2021 to see major changes over COVID
New Delhi, Dec 30: The Republic Day Parade 2021 will witness major changes due to curb the spread of Covid-19. The Ministry of Defence has finalised the changed format for the Republic Day Parade to be held in New Delhi on January 26 in view of the Covid protocols.
For the first time in the history of R-Day, the parade will not culminate at the Red Fort. It will start from Vijay Chowk and end at the National Stadium. The distance of the parade has been cut down to half -- from an earlier 8.2 kilometres to 3.3 kilometres now.
The reduction in the distance is the outcome of the decision to maintain social distancing between the marching contingents. The participants of the parade will be placed at a longer distance abiding by the protocols.
The number of individuals in each continent will also be cut short with only 96 members in place of 144 members in each contingent. The size of the contingents has been reformulated to 12×8 in place of usual 12×12 rows and columns. This will witness a change in the visible patterns of the Republic Day parade next year. All marching participants and performers will be wearing masks during the parade.
The spectator strength has also been brought down from 1,15,000 to 25,000 and children below the age of 15 will not be allowed entry. The number of cultural programmes has also been cut down.
The spectators will also be seated according to the social distancing protocols and will be wearing masks at all times. The cultural programmes will also be curtailed due to safety measures.
Notably, around 150 army jawans who had recently travelled to Delhi to take part in Republic Day parade have tested positive for Covid-19. All of them have been quarantined at the Delhi Cantonment.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be the chief guest on Republic Day in January 2021. MEA has confirmed his visit to India. Allaying speculations over Boris Johnson's attendance at India's Republic Day celebrations next year, MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, "We look forward to welcoming the British PM here."