New Delhi: Celebrations for the 70th Republic Day began this morning in the capital with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in attendance as the chief guest, amid heavy security deployment in the city.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his tributes to the martyrs by laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti in the presence of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the three service chiefs.
Later Modi, wearing his traditional kurta pajama and trademark Nehru jacket, reached the Rajpath and received and greeted President Ram Nath Kovind and the chief guest.
At the unfurling of the tricolour, the band played the national anthem with a 21-gun salute fired in the background.
Most of the ministers of the Modi government, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Deve Gowda, Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad were among those present on the occasion.
The overall theme for the Republic Day celebrations this year is the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and tableaux of many states, themed on the iconic freedom fighter, are lined up for the occasion. The country’s military might and cultural diversity were displayed during the celebrations.
Modi continued with his tradition of donning colourful turbans at Republic Day celebrations today by sporting a yellowish orange headgear with a red tail.
Wearing his traditional kurta pajama and the trademark Nehru jacket, Modi paid tributes to the martyrs at the Amar Jawan Jyoti before heading for the Republic Day parade. Turbans have been a highlight of the PM’s sartorial choices at Independence Day and Republic Day events.
The spirit of patriotism soared and roared as the national anthem was sung in the accompaniment of booming 21 gun salute at the Rajpath here during the Republic Day function.
The well-coordinated gun salute by seven cannons of 2281 Field Regiment starts with the first note of the national anthem and ends with the last.
The duration of the 21 gun salute coincides with the length of the national anthem. Each gun (25-pounder) is handled by a team of three personnel.
Special clocks are used to measure time in smaller units for precision. Also, back up gun are there to the meet the situation where a gun does not go off. The battery fires 21 rounds in 52 seconds.
Greetings from PM
Earlier, Modi greeted the people on the country’s 70th Republic Day. “Happy Republic Day to all fellow Indians,” he tweeted.
Several leaders took to social media to extend their greetings on the occasion: “As we celebrate #RepublicDay2019, let us renew our vow to our country: let us strive to live up to the ideals of justice, liberty and equality as enshrined in the constitution. Let us move towards a stronger, better India. Let us, with fierce pride, say in one voice: JAI HIND!” Union Minister Rajya Vardhan Singh Rathore tweeted.