Here’s a list of things about India’s Republic Day 2021 celebrations that might interest you.
India will be celebrating its Republic Day 2021 without a foreign dignitary as the Chief guest of the event for the first time in five decades. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited his British counterpart Boris Johnson to grace the 72nd Republic Day celebrations as chief guest. However, the UK PM called PM Modi on January 5 to inform them about the cancellation of his India trip due to the outbreak of the new coronavirus cases.
This left people speculating who will replace Boris Johnson as the Republic Day chief guest. However, an official statement from the Ministry of External Affairs put an end to all rumors. The ministry informed that there will not be a foreign Head of State or Head of Government as the Chief Guest for the Republic Day event due to the global COVID-19 situation.
For the first time in 55 years, India will not have a foreign dignity as a chief guest at the Republic Day parade.
Shorter contingents – Media reports suggest that contingents of armed forces and paramilitary forces will be shorter this year due to the pandemic. Reports also suggest that the soldiers participating in the parade will be kept inside a bio bubble to check the spread of novel coronavirus.
Bangladeshi forces to take part in the parade – Bangladesh Armed Forces, which fought and bled together with their Indian counterparts 50 years ago, will also participate in the Republic Day parade. A contingent of 122 proud personnel of the Bangladesh Armed Forces has departed for India in a specially-sent IAF C-17 aircraft, the Indian High Commission said in a press note.
It is the third time in India’s history that any foreign military contingent has been invited to participate in the parade. Earlier, contingents from France and the UAE have participated.
First woman fighter pilot – In another first, Flight lieutenant Bhawana Kanth is set to become the first woman fighter pilot to be a part of the Republic Day parade this year.
The 72nd Republic Day will also be different as the number of participating children and folk artists have been restricted to 400 compared to over 600 last year. The decision has been taken in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat or Self-Reliant India will also feature in this year’s celebrations. School children will also present a program on the theme ‘Hum Fit Toh India Fit’, inspired by the Fit India Movement launched by the PM on the occasion of National Sports Day on 29th August 2019.