Rafale fighter jets, which were inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) last year, featured in the Republic Day parade and culminated the flypast by carrying out the ‘Vertical Charlie’ formation. A Rafale jet with two Jaguar Deep penetration strike aircraft and two MiG-29 Air Superiority Fighters conducted the “Eklavya” formation at a height of 300 m and a speed of 780 km/h. The parade culminated with a single Rafale aircraft flying at a speed of 900km/hr carrying out a ‘Vertical Charlie’. The aircraft was piloted by Group Captain Harkirat Singh, Shaurya Chakra, Commanding Officer of 17 Squadron with Squadron leader Kislaykant.
Five Rafale fighter planes were formally inducted into the IAF in September last year. India is procuring the fighter planes from France. A total of 38 Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft participated in the flypast this year.
As India celebrated its 72nd Republic Day on Tuesday, President Ram Nath Kovind unfurled the national flag and received the customary 21-gun salute at Rajpath.
The 21-gun salute was presented by the Ceremonial Battery of 223 Field Regiment that was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Jitender Singh Mehta.
Kovind, escorted by 46 President’s Bodyguards raised in 1773 — on magnificent Bay and Dark Bay coloured mounts, was welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who wore a traditional ‘kurta-pajama’ and sported a special turban from Jamnagar in Gujarat.
Earlier, Modi paid solemn tributes to the martyrs by laying a wreath at the National War Memorial at the India Gate.
After unfurling the national flag, the first formation comprising of four Mi-17 V5 helicopters of the 155 Helicopter Unit flew and showered flowers at the Rajpath and guests. The helicopters flew in a Wineglass formation.
Thereafter, India’s military might, cultural diversity, social and economic progress was on display at the majestic Rajpath.
President, Vice President, Prime Minister and other dignitaries attended the parade at Rajpath. The Republic Day parade showcases India’s defence capabilities, the different cultures and traditions.
This year there was no Chief Guest due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was invited as the Chief Guest for Republic Day celebrations but due to pandemic, he could not come.
In his video message, Johnson said that he will visit in the coming months and wished India on the occasion citing it as the biggest sovereign democracy in the world. “I was hugely looking forward to joining you for this important occasion at the kind invitation of my friend Prime Minister Modi, alas our common struggle against Covid has kept me in London,” said Johnson.
India is celebrating its 72nd Republic Day on Tuesday, honouring the historic date when the country completed its transition towards becoming an independent republic after its constitution came into effect.