India is celebrating its 66th Republic Day today with gaiety and enthusiasm. President Pranab Mukherjee unfurled the national flag at Rajpath in the presence of Chief Guest Barack Obama, First lady of US Michelle Obama, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After unfurling the tricolour, the National Anthem was played with 21-gun salute.
The Republic Day ceremony commenced at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate where Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying homage to the martyrs by laying a wreath.
Before commencement of parade President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the highest peacetime gallantry Award Ashok Chakra posthumously to Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh and Major Mukund Varadarajan who laid their life during anti-terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir. The award was received by the wives of the martyrs.
India’s military prowess and achievements in different fields, state-of-the-art defence platforms, its diverse cultural and social traditions was put on display at the 66th Republic Day parade in New Delhi today.
A highlight of this year’s parade was the display for the first time of the recently acquired long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine P-8I aircraft and the long-range advanced MiG-29K fighter plane. The synchronised military and police contingents led by General Officer Commanding (Delhi), Lt General Subroto Mitra marched proudly to the lilting tunes of bands through Rajpath where President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Pranab Mukherjee took the salute from a specially erected dais.