India will celebrate its 72 Republic Day on Tuesday with a shortened programme because of the coronavirus pandemic, reported NDTV. It is scheduled to begin at 9 am and conclude at 11.25 am.
There are no chief guests this time, the guest list has been shortened, children below 15 years of age are not allowed to participate, physical distancing norms are in place and there will be fewer spectators for the traditional Republic Day parade. The parade route has also been shortened.
Thirty-two tableaux, including 17 of various states and Union Territories, nine of ministries and six from the defence arm, will take part in the parade, according to The Indian Express. Among these, the tableaux of Ladakh will be included for the first time.
All the 20 soldiers, who had died during the clash with the Chinese troops at the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15, will be given the gallantry awards posthumously.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished the country on the Republic Day.
President Ram Nath Kovind also greeted the country. In his address, he acknowledged the hardships faced by farmers and the Indian Army. “Every Indian salutes our farmers, who have made our vast and populous country self-reliant in food-grains and dairy products,” Kovind said. “Despite adversities of nature, numerous other challenges & Covid-19 pandemic, our farmers sustained agricultural production,”
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson also extended his greetings to India on Republic Day, PTI reported. Johnson was supposed to be the chief guest at the annual parade but had to call off his visit to focus on the crisis caused by the emergence of a new strain of the coronavirus in Britain.
“As I speak, our two countries are working side by side to develop, produce and distribute vaccines that will help to free humanity from the pandemic,” he said in a video message. “And thanks to the combined efforts of Britain, India and many other nations, we are on the road to success against Covid-19. So, I look forward to visiting India later this year, strengthening our friendship, and striving for the quantum leap in our relationship that Prime Minister Modi and I have both pledged to achieve.”
Meanwhile, a tractor rally led by farmers protesting against the farm laws, will take place following the annual day parade. The Delhi Police have tightened security in the national Capital and allowed the farmers to take out their march at the border areas.