Manmohan Singh to hoist flag on I-Day for 8th time

New Delhi: When Manmohan Singh hoists the national flag on Independence Day on Monday, he will be the first Prime Minister to do so for the eighth consecutive year after Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

Singh already has the distinction of having become the third longest serving premier in the country after Nehru and his daughter Indira.

Red Fort, a symbol of national integration has seen Nehru, the first Head of Government, unfurling the national flag 17 times, the most by any Indian Prime Minister. He is closely followed by Indira Gandhi in the second place getting the honour 16 times.

Upon his arrival at Lahori Gate of Red Fort, Singh will be received by Defence Minister AK Antony, Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju and Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma.

After being introduced to the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Delhi Area, Major General Manvender Singh by the Defence Secretary, the Prime Minister will be presented a general salute by a combined Inter-Services and Police Guard following which he will inspect the Guard of Honour.

With Army being the conducting agency this year, the Guard of Honour will be commanded by Lt Col N Seshagiri Rao from the Madras Regiment.

The unfurling of the tri-colour will synchronize with 21 gun salute fired by the gunners of 299 Field Regiment commanded by Maj Vijay Kumar Shah.

The Prime Minister will then address the nation. About 700 NCC cadets from the Delhi Directorate comprising Army, Navy and Air Force wings will participate in the flag hoisting ceremony this year.