President Pranab Mukherjee addressed the nation at 7 pm on Wednesday ahead of the 68th Republic Day celebrations in India on Thursday, January 26. He greeted the citizens as well as the armed forces of the country adding that India "must ensure the well-being of our soldiers and security personnel who protect us from internal, external threats." 

Mukherjee said that the country's tradition has always celebrated the "argumentative" Indian and not the "intolerant" Indian. He also spoke about the issue of demonetisation in his address.  He described the Indian democracy as an "oasis of stability in the region troubled by unrest" and also addressed the issues of poverty and safety of women and children in the country.

Here are all the live updates:

1:31 am IST: The parade comes to an end with the president's bodyguards taking their place at Rajpath and giving the word for command. The national Anthem plays again after which the president and the chief guest leave Rajpath for the Rashtrapati Bhavan

11:30 am IST: The vertical Charlie formation by single Su-30 MKI fly past in a final act.

11:29 am IST: Three Sukhoi-30 MKI planes fly past over Rajpath in a Trishul formation

11:28 am IST: Fulcrum – 5 MiG-29 fighter planes fly past over Rajpath.

11:26 am IST: The indigenous LCA Tejas combat aircraft makes its debut at a speed of 780 kms over Rajpath

11:25 am IST: 3C-130 super Hercules fly past over Rajpath

11:24 am IST: Speculative display of Aircraft underway began with Chakra formation

11:23 am IST: Air Force formations will now appear in the sky as the fly-past begins.

11:22 am IST:

11:21 am IST: 

11:20 am IST: Team Captain of Dare Devils, Havaldar Satish Kumar, leads the dare devils stunt and salutes the President

11:19 am IST: 'Sweta Ashwa' team of the corps of military performs daredevil stunt at Rajpath.

11:18 am IST: Motorcycle stunts begin at Rajpath.

11:16 am IST: Students of Kendriya Vidyalay, Pitampura showcase how the National Flag has been a witness of glorious tales of nation building.

11:12 am IST: Students from Mount Abu Public School, showcasing the Assam Nritya Shaili, perform at Rajpath.

11:11 am IST: At least 150 students from the Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya form the map of India to showcase our diversity and unity and the power of the youth.

11:08 am IST: Cultural event and dance by school children begin. the first dance is known as Saila — a popular dance of Madhya Pradesh's Gond tribe from Dindori district. Around 165 students from Nagpur are performing the dance

11:07 am IST: The country's braveheart children — 12 girls and 13 boys — pass by on Rajpath in decked-up little jeeps.

11:05 am IST: Khadi India tableau makes an appearance at Republic Day parade

11:04 am IST: A 'Transforming India' tableau goes forward on Rajpath

11:01 am IST: A tableau showcasing the housing scheme, which was lauched in 2015 with the mission being: Every Indian to have a puchhu house by 2022.

10:57 am IST: Jammu and Kashmir's tableau showcasing snow sport at Gulmarg and a snowman with a Kangri

10:56 am IST: The tableau from Tripura, showcasing Hojagiri danced performed by girls for earthen pitches, goes forward.

10:55 am IST: The tableau from Goa makes an appearance at the parade showcasing its rich musical heritage

10:54 am IST: The tableau of Tamil Nadu, showcasing Karagattamis, makes an appearance at the parade.

10:53 am IST: The tableau of Punjab on Jago Aaiya goes forward on Rajpath. Jago is a dance that takes place the night before a Punjabi wedding

10:52 am IST: The tableau of West Bengal, with the theme 'Sharodtsav' — the advent of Durga Puja — goes forward

10:50 am IST: The tableau of Haryana, with the theme 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao' goes forward on Rajpath.

10:49 am IST: The tableau of Himachal Pradesh makes an appearance on Rajpath after three years showing the art form of Chamba Rumal.

10:48 am IST:The tableau of Karnataka, showcasing Gorava Dance, is displayed on Rajpath followed by the tableau of Delhi on transforming education. The tableau is followed by sword-welding warriors

10:47 am IST: The tableau of Manipur, showcasing Lal Haroba, goes forward.

A tableau of Gujarat on Kutch art is also showcased. Dancers perform the traditional Raas dance.

10:46 am IST: The tableau of Maharashtra goes forward on Rajpath. It commemorates the 160th birth anniversary of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak.

10:44 am IST: The tableau of Arunachal Pradesh, showcasing the famous Yak Dance, goes forward on Rajpath.

10:43 am IST: The tableaux of different states will now go forward on Rajpath, the first being from Odisha showcasing the festival of Dola Yatra.

10:40 am IST: The NCC cadets' contingent marches on Rajpath.

10:39 am IST: The NSG or the black cat commandos march on Rajpath.

10:38 am IST: The tableau of the Indian Navy goes forward on Rajpath

10:37 am IST: The CISF band marching on Rajpath playing the tune 'Hum hai na hai na hindustani'. Motto being 'Sarvatra Sarvotam Suraksha'

10:36 am IST: Indian Air force soldiers march down Rajpath

10:35 am IST: The CRPF band is followed by the CRPF marching contingent, comprising 148 personnel, on Rajpath. It is led by Assistant Commander Amit Kumar. CRPF is the oldest and the largest paramilitary forces in the world. Motto: Service and loyalty.

10:33 am IST: Indian Coast Guard marching contingent, led by Arvind Kumar Pandey credited with saving 7,000 lives, goes forward on Rajpath. Motto is Vayam Raksham

10:32 am IST: Camel-mounted band of the Border Security Force (BSF) goes forward on Rajpath playing the tune 'Hum Hai Seema Suraksha Bal.'

10:31 am IST: The Sikh Regiment marches down Rajpath

10:30 am IST: Advanced towered Artillery Gun system is displayed on Rajpath

10:28 am IST:  The tableau of the Indian Air Force goes forward on Rajpath. 

10:27 am IST: Junior warrant officer Ashok Kumar leads the Air force band, which is playing the tune of Sound Barrier

10:26 am IST: Brass Band of Indian Navy Playing Jai Bharati marches on Rajpath. The band is lead by Master Ramesh Chandra

10:24 am IST: The Army Veterans tableau goes forward on Rajpath.

10:23 am IST: Madras regiment is led by Subedar Major Radhay Sham

10:22 am IST: 9th Gorkha Rifles, led by Major Gaurav Hriday, marches on Rajpath.

10:21 am IST: Bihar regiment led by captain Rahul Rawat marches on Rajpath.

10:20 am IST: Mechanised Infantry regiment marching on Rajpath. The band is playing the tune 'Amar Senani'. Their slogan is "Veerta Aur Vishwas."

10:19 am IST: Dhanush Gun System, led by captain Nachiketa Sanjay, on display at Rajpath.

10:18 am IST: Two advance light helicopters, weapon system integrated 'Rudra', fly past in a diamond formation at a speed of 150 kms/hr and a height of 60 metres above the ground.

10:16 am IST: Display of weapons, including the Akash Weapon System at the Rajpath, led by Anendra bansal and Lt Garima. The 27 Air Defence Regiment is the first unit of the Indian Army to be eqipped with this system that is capable of firing surface to air missile. 

10:15 am IST: Major PK Morolia is leading the CBRM contingent on Rajpath

10:14 am IST: Subhedar Paromd Kumar is leading Swathi Radar on Rajpath.

10:13 am IST: Army tanks march on Rajpath. Captain Vaibhav Toote is leading the BM-2k Contingent.

10:11 am IST: Lt. General Rajesh Sahai is the second in command on the parade

10:10 am IST: The first Indian contingent marches on Rajpath. The 61 cavalry, the only serving active horse cavalry regiment in the world, marches on Rajpath wnder the leadership on Captain Pritam Mishra. Their slogan is 'Ashva Shakti Yashval' which means 'horse power forever supreme.'

10:09 am IST: The contingent from Abu Dhabi, along with the music band comprising 35 musicians, marches in the parade at Rajpath. Aboood Musabeh is leading the Command. The mixed contingent comprises of 149 soldiers.

10:06 am IST: Lt. General Manoj Mukhund Naravane from the National Defence Academy commands the parade. 

10:05 am IST: The parade at Rajpath begins. Army contingents begin marching on Rajpath.

10:04 am IST: Havaldar Hangpan Dada awarded Ashok Chakra posthumously. He had lost his life in Kupwara's Naugam Sector in Jammu and Kashmir.

10:01 am IST: The president awards the Ashok Chakra to soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

10 am IST: The president's bodyguard gives the word of command. The National Anthem is being played. The tricolour is unfurled and a 21-gun salute is given.

9:55 am IST: President Pranab Mukherjee arrives at Rajpath along with chief guest UAE's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He will be greeted by PM Modi, Defence Minister Parrikar and the three service chiefs.

9:54 am IST: Vice President Hamid Ansari arrives at Rajpath along with his wife Salma Ansari. He is welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

9:50 am IST: PM Modi arrives at Rajpath amid applause from the crowd. He is welcomed by and Defence Minister Parrikar and is being greeted by the three service chiefs.

9:49 am IST: Defence Minister Parrikar arrives at Rajpath

9:46 am IST: PM Modi leaves the India Gate for Rajpath after signing the ceremonial book.

9:43 am IST: PM Modi and three service chiefs pay tribute to late soldiers at Amar Jawan Jyoti in Delhi

9:40 am IST: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at Amar Jawan Jyoti to lay wreath and pay tribute to late soldiers. He is welcomed by Defence Minister Parrikar. PM Modi will be given a Guard of Honour by the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy.

9:39 am IST: President Pranab Mukherjee and chief guest UAE's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan leave for Rajpath from Rashtrapati Bhavan.

9:36 am IST: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar arrives at the India Gate to pay tribute at Amar Jawan Jyoti. The prime Minister's arrival is awaited.

9:24 am IST: 

9:15 am IST: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah wishes the nation on its 68th Republic Day

9:11 am IST:

9:09 am IST:

9:08 am IST:

9:01 am IST: PM Narendra Modi to pay tribute to soldiers, who sacrificed their life for the nation, at the Amar Jawan Jyoti in Delhi shortly.

8:54 am IST: Congress President Sonia Gandhi greets the nation on its 68th Republic Day.

"Wishing all Indians in India and abroad... India's Republic intrinsic strength lies in our Constitutional values. Today is the day to reiterate our commitment to protection, preservation and practise of these Constitutional ideals. It comprises of India's true spirit and struggles against inequality & injustice. I pay respects to freedom fighters and founding fathers of our Republic, and to those great meṅ and women who drafted our Constitution. Gandhi hoped every Indian will strive to fight for these values and against the forces that seek to undermine them."

8:51 am IST:

8:49 am IST: Search engine Google marks the 68th Republic Day of India in a special doodle showing a crowd of people at a stadium in the midst of the tricolour flag decking up the arena.

8:47 am IST: 

8:46 am IST: President Pranab Mukherjee will make his address at 9 am following which the parade will begin

8:45 am IST:

8:44 am IST:

8:36 am IST: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley greets the nation on Republic Day

8:30 am IST: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal greets the nation on the 68th Republic Day

8:21 am IST: Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu greets the nation on Republic Day

8:10 am IST: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam at Republic Day celebrations in Chennai

7:52 am IST: According to an advisory sent to the Delhi Police, terrorists could use animals as suicide bombers.

7:39 am IST: Soldiers, who were a part of the surgical strikes carried out across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, were awarded gallantry awards.

7:27 am IST: The Border Security Force (BSF) extends greetings to the nation on Republic Day

7:22 am IST: The Indian Navy greets the nation on Republic Day

7:15 am IST: Rains and lightning have been predicted in Delhi today

6:46 am IST: PM Narendra Modi greets the nation on its 68th Republic Day.

6:30 am IST: Chief of Army Staff Bipin Rawat wishes the nation on Republic Day

6:15 am IST: The Rashtrapati Bhavan was illuminated on Wednesday night ahead of the Republic Day celebrations. 

6 am IST: The Delhi Metro also announced that metro services would be partially curtailed due to security arrangements on January 26 for the Republic Day Parade and on January 29 for the Beating Retreat Ceremony respectively.

5:30 am IST: The Burj Khalifa in Dubai lit up in the tricolour to mark Republic Day in India 

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa lights up in the Indian tricolour to mark Republic Day and the Crown Prince's visit to India.Twitter/Ashish Jha

5:15 am IST: It has been a ritual of sorts since several years to air a recording of the late Ustad Bismillah Khan playing his shehnai just before the Republic Day parade is telecast.

Chief Guest — Crown Prince of the UAE

UAE crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade this year. Besides attending the parade, several bilateral agreements were also signed between the two countries in a meeting on Wednesday.

For the first time, a contingent of UAE soldiers and their music band will be marching at the Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi on January 26. Sheikh Mohammed will be bringing a contingent of Arab soldiers along with him to India. The soldiers will march along with the Indian forces in a show of strong ties between the two countries. The crown prince is the deputy supreme commander of the armed forces.

However, India had refused UAE's request to send skydivers, along with the contingent, to perform at the Republic Day parade citing security concerns.

Highlights of the Parade at Rajpath:

Preparations and practice sessions ahead of the parade have been going on in full swing over the past few weeks. 

However, the highlight of the parade this year would be a fly-past from the indigenous LCA Tejas combat aircraft and the marching contingent of National Security Guards (NSG), popularly known as the black cat commandos.

Another highlight would be the tableau from Himachal Pradesh, which is making a comeback of sorts after having been missing from the parade for three years. The state tableau will present the Chamba Rumal — the traditional pahari art form that saw immense popularity in the Chamba town of Himachal Pradesh during the 18th century.

Security arrangements at Rajpath and Delhi

Tight security arrangements have been put in place ahead of the Republic Day Parade on Thursday with over 50,000 security personnel from the Delhi Police, central paramilitary forces and NSG commandos keeping a tight vigil in the capital city and especially at Rajpath where the parade will be held. The parade route at Rajpath is over 5 kms long.

The police will be using an anti-drone technology to prevent air attacks or identify any suspicious flying object after receiving intelligence inputs about the possibility of terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba using helicopter charter services and charter flights to launch an attack through air. Besides this, more than 200 cameras have been installed along the parade route while security agencies conducted a fresh recce of sensitive areas and buildings within a 2-5 km-radius from Rajpath.

Citizens have also been asked to remain alert. Security agencies had also received intelligence inputs warning them of the possibility of Pakistan-based terror outfits using Afghani identity and passports to infiltrate into the country and maybe "create tensions" between India and Afghanistan on the instructions of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Personnel with anti-aircraft guns will also be stationed atop tall buildings. The Indian Army Corps of Signals has placed snipers and spotters around Rajpath. They have been keeping an eye on movement and people round the clock. Control rooms have also been set up to monitor the footage from the CCTV cameras installed along the parade route. Quick reaction teams have also been put in place as a precautionary measure.