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Republic Day Parade 2021: Amid the pandemic, what will be different this year?

Republic Day 2021 is almost here and India is all set to showcase its military might during the annual parade. However, keeping the current situation in mind, the Republic Day parade of 2021 will be different from previous years. There will be certain additions as well as reductions this year.

Let’s have a look at the top ten things that would be different this year:

1.The number of spectators has been reduced for safety reasons. The number has gone down from 150,000 to  25,000 this year. The number of media professionals has been reduced too. This year there will be only 200 professionals as compared to 300 last year. No children below the age of 15 will be allowed to take part in the parade.

2. The events that have been cancelled include the veterans’ parade by ex-servicemen and women, motorcycle stunts by troops of the army, and the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel. Also,  instead of 144 jawans, there will be 96 jawans in one contingent.

 3. With British Prime Minister Boris Johnson not coming to India due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, this will be the first time that there will be no foreign guest at the Republic Day parade in 55 years. Prior to this, India didn’t have a chief guest for the parade in 1952, 1953, and 1966. This is the fourth time in history that no foreign guest will be present. 

4. The distance of the march has been cut short too (approx 50 percent). The parade will reportedly begin from Vijay Chowk and end at National Stadium, instead of Red Fort where it usually ends. The parade will cover a distance of just 3.3 km instead of the usual 8.2 km

5. Bangladesh Armed Forces will also participate in the Republic Day parade. It is the third time in the history of India that any foreign military contingent has been invited to participate in such a fashion. The contingent includes 122 personnel.  The contingent will be led by the Bangladesh Army (first six rows), followed by the Bangladesh Navy (the next two rows) and the last two rows will comprise of Bangladesh Air Force.

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6. The newly inducted Rafale fighter jets will participate in the parade for the first time. They will be carrying out the ‘Vertical Charlie’ formation. Other formations that would be seen by the Indian Air Force include ‘Rudra’, ‘Sudharshan’, ‘Rakshak’, ‘Eklavya’, and ‘Brahmastra’.

7.  The parade will also witness its first participation by a woman fighter pilot, Flight lieutenant Bhawana Kanth. She will be a part of the IAF’s tableau showcasing the light combat aircraft (LCA), light combat helicopter (LCH), and the Sukhoi-30 fighters.

8. Thousands of farmers are set to participate in a tractor rally on 26 January in Delhi. However, it is less likely that this rally would affect the Republic day parade of 2021. This rally is in lieu of the farmer’s protest that has been going on for some months now against the farm bills proposed by the central government.

9. For the first time, a contingent from the Andaman & Nicobar Islands will participate in the Republic Day parade on the mainland. This unit is part of the Madras regiment. 

10. For the first time, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will have its own tableau in the parade. The theme will be the combat skills of CRPF in conflict zones. The tableau will display panoramic four-eyed night vision goggles (NVGs), a warfare gadget. 

There will be many more firsts and breathtaking displays this year. So, make sure you don’t miss out on them! 

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