New Delhi: Kaleidoscopic images of India’s rich cultural diversity and the might of its military were on full display on the magnificent Rajpath here on Monday as the nation celebrated its 60th Republic Day amid an unprecedented security cover.
An impressive and colourful parade, a traditional attraction of the national event, marched down the thoroughfare connecting the Rashtrapati Bhawan and the historic India Gate as President Pratibha Patil took the salute from marching contingents.
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Armed forces in battle regalia proudly marching before their supreme commander, scintillating show of air power, fascinating tableaux depicting the diverse culture and hundreds of colourfully-dressed dancing school children were part of the parade.
The march-past was watched by the Republic Day chief guest Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, vice president Hamid Ansari, defence minister A K Antony and the country’s top political and military brass, including UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, besides a large enthusiastic crowd that had gathered on either sides of the Rajpath.
As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is recuperating from his bypass surgery in All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Antony performed all the customary duties of the Prime Minister during the Republic Day celebration.
Minutes before the parade began, Antony and chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force laid wreaths at ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti´, the British-era World War-I memorial at India Gate, where an eternal flame burns in memory of those who laid down their lives while defending the nation’s frontiers.