Republic Day celebrations: Obama to witness India's military might, cultural diversity
New Delhi, Jan 25: India will tomorrow celebrate its 66th Republic Day, showcasing before the chief guest US President Barack Obama and the world its military might and cultural diversity with a splendid display of land and naval weaponry, fighter and reconnaissance aircraft.
Defence sources say the thought of having an all-women contingent came from Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself as he wanted the Services to focus on "Nari Shakti".
Tableaux from 16 States and nine central ministries and departments will present the varied historical, architectural and cultural heritage of the country. The theme of most of the tableaux this year will have imprints of the Prime Minister's pet projects like 'Jan Dhan Yojna', 'Maa Ganga', 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan', bullet train and the 'Make in India' drive.
Another attraction would be the display of Army version of indigenously developed surface-to-air Akash medium range missile and Weapon Locating Radar, both by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
For the first time, India will display its recently acquired long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine P-8I aircraft and the long-range advanced MiG-29K fighter plane.
Indian Army's laser-guided missile capable T-90 Bheeshma tank, infantry combat vehicle BMP-II (Sarath) followed by T-72 with Trawl will be the main draw in the mechanised columns.
These will be followed by 'Pinaka' multiple barrel launcher system. The Mobile Autonomous Launcher of BRAHMOS missile system, three dimensional tactical control radar, satellite on the move communication platform and rapidly deployable satellite terminal (RADSAT) would come next.
An Indian Air Force tableau with the theme "50 years of 1965 War" will follow them at the majestic Rajpath.
The IAF has proudly put on display aircraft which have proved their prowess in the 1965 Indo-Pak war -- the Gnat, the Vampire, followed by the Canberra bomber, MI-4 helicopter and Packet transport aircraft.
In keeping with the Indian Navy's theme "Ensuring Safe Seas for a Resurgent Nation" the Naval Tableau will display a few of its frontline assets in all four dimensions of maritime warfare.
Navy's march to self-reliance and indigenisation will be showcased by the models of indigenously constructed destroyer INS Kolkata launching a BrahMos missile with the Advanced Light Helicopter "Dhruv" in the background.