R-day parade: 87-yr-old veteran to be oldest participant

The Republic Day parade will also display sophisticated military equipment like shipborne radar and naval underwater weapon system.

New Delhi: An 87-year-old war veteran will be the oldest participant in the Republic Day parade this year which will also display sophisticated military equipment like shipborne radar and naval underwater weapon system.

The full-dress rehearsal held in the national capital today provided a preview of what is in store for the Republic Day celebrations which would showcase the country`s cultural diversity and military might.

Armed forces and paramilitary forces marching to the tunes of bands and tableaux depicting the country`s culture and development will be part of the parade passing through an eight-kilometer route from Rajpath to Red Fort during which the country`s modern weaponry will also be displayed.

Marching down from the Raisina Hills will be NN Shukla, 87, who will be leading a contingent of ex-servicemen. Shukla, the flying officer based in Rawalpindi during the World War II, will be the oldest participant in this year`s parade.

In the parade led by General Officer Commanding (Delhi) Maj Gen Manvendra Singh, DRDO`s active phased array radar, shipborne multi-function radar and naval underwater weapon system will be displayed for the first time.

Other weapons like Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, Brahmos Launcher System, T-90 Bhishma tanks, multi-barrel rocket system `Pinaka`, Tactical Control Radar Reporter, NBC (Nuclear-Biological-Chemical) Recce Vehicle and Integrated Network Platform will also be displayed at the parade.

The tableaux will provide a kaleidoscopic view of the country`s vibrant culture. Rabindranath Tagore, Lord Buddha, Jammu and Kashmir`s Bandh Pandher, Tripura`s Kharchi festival, Punjab`s Mehandi ceremony and Bihar`s Maner Sherif will be on focus in the tableaux from various states.

The parade will start with four MIG-17s showering flower petals on the crowd and the first to walk in would be the Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra award winners followed by mounted columns of 61 Cavalry and Army`s impressive weaponry.

The Army contingent will have personnel from Punjab Regiment, Rajputana Rifles, Rajput Regiment, Sikh Light Infantry, Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry and Gorkha Rifles.

The next to follow will be smartly-dressed 148 Navy personnel along with a tableau of INS Virat and then the Air Force. Other marching contingents will be camel-mounted BSF, Assam Rifles, Coast Guard, CRPF, ITBP, CISF, SSB, RPF, Delhi Police, NCC and NSS.

The marching contingents will give way to tableaux. The first to be rolled out will be one on `Gurudev` Rabindranath Tagore on his 150th birth anniversary.