All that was new at this year's Republic Day parade
Earlier on Sunday, India's rising military was on full display as the celebrations for the 71st Republic Day went off at Rajpath in New Delhi. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was the chief guest to the celebrations as 22 tableaux, including 16 from states and Union Territories, rolled down Rajpath. Here are a few highlights from this year's colorful parade.
For the first time, the 'Dhanush' gun system was displayed at the R-Day parade. It is the first long-range artillery gun to be produced in India. The 155mm/45 Caliber 'Dhanush' gun is made by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and has a towed Howitzer design. The gun has automatic alignment and positioning capabilities and has a maximum range of 36.5 km.
Since the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories, J&K participated in the parade for the first time. The tableau had the theme 'Back to Village' and featured artists performing folk music and dance. It also showcased an artisan weaving a Kashmiri shawl, another making pottery, and a painter working on traditional Basholi artwork.
In yet another first, Captain Tania Shergill led an all-male contingent at the Republic Day parade. She's a fourth-generation officer with the Army's Corps of Signal. Giving adequate representation to women, a contingent of women Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bikers also performed stunts for the first time. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) contingent also showcased Anti-Satellite Weapons (ASAT) from Mission Shakti.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also broke tradition by paying tribute to fallen Indian soldiers at the National War Memorial instead of the Amar Jawan Jyoti under India Gate. The grand finale of the R-Day parade—the flypast—featured a 'Trishul' formation by three advanced light helicopters in a first, seemingly to signify cohesion between the three forces since the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff.