India is celebrating its 74th Republic Day with enthusiasm, patriotic fervour and a display of its cultural diversity and military might on Thursday.
The nation’s constitution came into effect on January 26, 1950, making India a republic.
President Draupadi Murmu, India’s first tribal president, will lead the nation in celebrating the day from Kartavya Path — the newly refurbished 3km boulevard in capital New Delhi.
The event is taking place after a two-year pause due to the pandemic and will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his cabinet colleagues, opposition leaders and foreign diplomats.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi will be the chief guest at the parade.
Mr Modi will visit the National War Memorial to pay his respects before the parade.
Around 65,000 people will brave the cold as they will witness the parade — a unique mix of military and cultural diversity, and a showcase of “New India”.
The ceremonial salute will feature 105mm Indian field guns as President Murmu unfurls the national flag. The guns replace the vintage 25-pounders, reflecting India’s growing “Aatmanirbharta”, or self-reliance in defence.
Four military helicopters will shower flower petals on the audience.
India’s military — including the army, navy, air force and paratroopers — will display their might.
The Indian Air force contingent, comprising 144 air warriors and four officers, will display a rotating globe highlighting its expanded reach to provide humanitarian assistance across borders.
The Indian Army will perform stunts on motorbikes featuring human pyramids and fire rings.
The Egyptian Army will also be represented in the parade.
About 6,000 soldiers have been deployed for security and 150 surveillance cameras installed.
Hundreds of dancers from across the country will perform.
The grand finale and the most eagerly-awaited segment will be the fly-past — featuring 45 Indian Air Force planes, one from the Indian Navy and four helicopters from the Indian Army.