On Thursday, the country will witness several ‘firsts’ on the occasion of the 74th Republic Day. Citizens will get to see these ‘firsts’ during the Republic Day parade; Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is in India to attend the parade as its chief guest.
Here are the details:
(1.) El-Sisi is the first Egyptian leader to be invited as the chief guest for the event. He is also the first chief guest since 2020, when then Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro attended the parade (no chief guests in 2021 and 2022 due to Covid-19).
(2.) On January 26, the President of India unfurls the national flag and receives salute from the marching contingents. This, therefore, is the maiden Republic Day as President for Droupadi Murmu, the incumbent holder of the country’s highest office, and who is also India’s second female head of state (Pratibha Patil was the first), assuming the post in July last year.
(3.) Rajpath, since being renamed as Kartavya Path last year, will see appearance from tanks, guns and soldiers, for the first time. Also, all official invites have been sent online, another first.
(4.) Before 2023, British guns were used to accord the 21-gun salute to the President of India before the parade. Now, however, under the government’s ‘Make in India’ scheme, indigenously-made 105 mm field guns will replace the vintage artillery of 25-powder guns.
(5.) The Navy’s IL-38, a reconnaissance maritime aircraft that has served the force for more than 40 years, will make its inaugural (and possibly final) appearance) in the January 26 event. It will be among 50 aircraft that will participate in the festivities.
(6.) The Border Security Force’s (BSF) camel contingent will have women participants for the first time.
(7.) Beating Retreat, the ceremony that takes place on January 29 and marks the conclusion of the Republic Day festivities, will have 3-D anamorphic projections for the first time.