India Thursday celebrated her 63rd Republic Day, showcasing the military prowess and cultural heritage. The Republic Day parade, held on the Rajpath in New Delhi, highlighted the nation's achievements in various fields.
One of the highlights of this year's parade was the 3,000-km range Agni-IV missile. The Intermediate Range Surface-to-Surface Ballistic Missile, mounted on a road mobile launcher, was being paraded by the Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO).
The DRDO also put on display for the first time the 150-km range Prahaar tactical battlefield support missile and the Rustom-1 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
The weaponry put on display by the Army included the T-72 tank, Carrier Mortar Tracked, SMERCH Multiple Launch Rocket System, Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket System and others.
The Indian Air Force displayed its latest acquisition, the C-130-J Super Hercules tactical aircraft.
The parade commenced at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at the India Gate where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led the nation in paying homage to the martyrs.
President Pratibha Patil posthumously conferred the Ashok Chakra on Lieutenant Navdeep Singh of the Army Ordnance Corps/15th Battalion, The Maratha Light Infantry.
The parade was commanded by Lt. General Vijay Kumar Pillai, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area. Major General Rajbir Singh, Chief of Staff, Delhi Area, was the parade Second-in-Command.
The marching contingents included those from the Army, Navy, IAF, paramilitary and auxiliary civil forces.
The camel-mounted band of the Border Security Force and Janbaz, the motorcycle display by the BSF, were the major attractions. 154 riders on 30 motorcycles performed the Bordermen Salute, Side Riding, Yoga, Janbaz-1, Ladder Double, Harmony, Exercise, Pyramid, Parallel Bar, Guldasta, Karvan and Flag March under the leadership of Inspector Amit Kumar.
1,200 boys and girls from various schools presented dances and other programs. Nineteen of the 24 children selected for the National Bravery Award - 2009 were also participated in the parade.
Tableaux from 23 states and Union ministries and departments depicted the varied historical, architectural and cultural heritage of the country.
The grand finale of the parade was a spectacular flypast by the IAF, with the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft participating in the Parade for the first time. The flypast was led by a Vic formation of three Mi-35 helicopters, followed by three Super Hercules Vic formations.
The breathtaking Trishul formation, comprising three Su-30 MKI soar over the Rajpath and once in front of the saluting dais the Su-30MKI aircraft split upwards, making a Trishul in the sky. The flypast was concluded with another Sukhoi Su-30 MKI carrying out a Vertical Charlie manoeuvre over the saluting dais.
Prime Minister of Thailand Yingluck Shinawatra was the Chief Guest during the celebrations.