Republic Day Parade’s Highlights from Capital

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NewZNew (New Delhi) : The grand Republic Day parade lasted two hours, the non-stop drizzle failing to dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm for the event, owed at least in part to the presence of President Barack Obama as Chief Guest. First Lady Michelle Obama was bundled up in an overcoat. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wore a bright safa or turban.
The wives of Major Mukund Varadarajan and Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh of the Indian Army were presented with the Ashok Chakra, the highest peacetime gallantry award. The rain seemed to have caught everyone unawares. By the end of the parade, many leaders in the VVIP enclosure would have been soaked. President Pranab Mukherjee and other leaders like Arun Jaitley and LK Advani were seen in an assortment of hats and caps.

At one point, President Obama was seen holding an umbrella over the head of Vice President Ansari. The Indian Air Force defied the odds, didn’t cancel the flypast and flew right on schedule despite poor visibility and low clouds, delivering the most thrilling part of the event.

President Obama didn’t travel down Rajpath in the limousine of President Pranab Mukherjee.  He travelled in his own armoured limousine, “The Beast.” A day after speaking out against Russia, President Obama was witness to a parade with primary Russian weapon systems.

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US-built aircraft on display such as the C-17, C-130 or P8-I were escorted by Russian-built fighters. Women power was the central theme of the parade; there were all-women contingents in the parade for the first time, and  women officers commanded other marching units.

At least 11 of the tableaux on display focussed on the PM’s favourite programmes such as Make in India, Swatch Bharat, Beti Bachao, and the Jan Dhan scheme. Motorcycle stunt riders from the Border Security Force, called India’s daredevils, got the thumbs-up from the President. Michelle Obama was also seen clapping for the stunt bikers.

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