India celebrated its 68th Republic Day on January 26, 2017. The Theme of 2017 Republic Day is: Skill India and Beti Bachao Beti Padhao.Every year this day is celebrated on January 26, as it was on this day that the Constitution of India came into force in the year 1950.
Important Highlights of Republic Day 2017
Every year India invites a special state guest of honour to be the chief guest at the Republic Day ceremony. This year the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of United Arab Emirates (UAE), Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was the Chief Guest at the ceremony.
Republic Day Parade
The Republic Day celebration started with flag hoisting ceremony, done by President Pranab Mukherjee, followed by a 21-gun salute and the Republic Day Parade from Rajpath. The Parade begins from Rajpath and concludes at the Red Fort in New Delhi.
- The parade showcased India’s military strength, achievements and its diverse culture at the Rajpath.
- The Republic Day Parade was commanded by Lt General Manoj Mukund Naravane, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area.
UAE contingent in the parade
For the first time in the history of Republic Day, a foreign contingent of 179 UAE Soldiers led the annual parade on Rajpath. A 35-member UAE strong band along with 144 soldiers, led by Brigadier Obaid Al-Zahumi, performed the marched past. In 2016, a French contingent had marched on Rajpath.
NSG commandos in the Parade
A contingent of National Security Guards, also known as the Black Cat commandos, took part in the parade for the first time. A contingent of 60 commandos dressed in their black overalls and full armed gear marched on the Rajpath, giving ceremonial salute to President Pranab Mukherjee.
Other attractions of the Parade
The marching contingents of Army included horse-mounted columns of the 61st Cavalry, the Mechanised Infantry Regiment, the Bihar Regiment, the 39 Gorkha Training Centre, 58 Gorkha Training Centre, the Madras Engineering Group and Centre and 103 Infantry Battalion.
- The Indian Army showcased its missile firing capability T-90 ‘Bhishma’ tank, Infantry Combat Vehicle BMP-2K, BrahMos Missile System, Weapon Locating Raddar ‘Swathi’ and Akash Weapons System. Besides, it also displayed India’s first indigenously-built 155 mm artillery gun, Dhanush.
- The Indian Air Force (IAF) tableau was based on the theme “Air Dominance Through Network Centric Operations”. The tableau displayed the scaled down models of Su-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, AWACS, UAV, Apache and Communication Satellite.
- The Navy contingent comprised 144 young sailors and it was led by Lieutenant Aparna Nair. The Indian Navy’s tableau showcased the indigenously built Kolkata Class Destroyer and the Kalvari Class next generation attack submarines, model of the P-8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
- The paramilitary and other auxiliary civil forces included the Border Security Force Camel Contingent, Indian Coast Guard, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Delhi Police, National Cadet Corps and National Service Scheme.
- The parade also showcased the heroic motor bike stunts of ‘Dare Devils’- the motorcycle display team of Corps of Military Police.
- Tableaux from 17 states and Union Territories and six central ministries and departments showcased the varied historical, art and cultural heritage of the country.
- 21 of the 25 children who won the National Bravery Award also participated in the parade. Four children have received the award posthumously. Besides, students from different zones also participated in the pararde
- The main highlight of the parade was a spectacular fly-past by the Indian Air Force’s Mi-35 helicopters, indigenous combat light aircraft Tejas, Jaguars and Sukhois.
Gallantry Awards to Navy on 26 January 2017
As a part of the Republic Day celebration, President Pranab Mukherjee conferred 3 Gallantry awards on the Indian Navy. It included one Shaurya Chakra and two Nao Sena medals.
- Shaurya Chakra: Ashu Singh(posthumously)
- Nao Sena Medal: Rakesh Kumar(posthumously)
- Nao Sena Medal: LT CDR NEERAJ KUMAR
Gallantry Awards to Air Force on 26 January 2017
The Indian Air Force received 4 Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry).
President Announced 398 Republic Day Gallantry and other Defence Decorations
On the occasion of Republic Day, the President approved 398 Gallantry awards and other Defence decorations to Armed Forces personnel and others.
- The 398 Gallantry award included 2 Kirti Chakras, 12 Shaurya Chakras, 3 Bar to Sena Medal (Gallantry), 91 Sena Medal (Gallantry), 2 Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry), 4 Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry), 29 Param Vishisht Seva Medal, 5 Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, 2 Bar to Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, 49 Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, 14 Yudh Seva Medal, 4 Bar to Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty), 36 Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty), 8 Nao Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty), 14 Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty), 4Bar to Vishisht Seva Medal and 119 Vishisht Seva Medal.
- Besides these, the President also approved 7 awards to Indian Coast Guard Personnel for gallantry, meritorious service and distinguished service and 44 ‘Mention-in-Despatches’ were awarded to 44 personnel from Army
- Among the special mentions of the awardees are Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Southern Army Commander Lt Gen PM Hariz who were overlooked in the appointment of Army Chief were given the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM).
- Colonel Kapil Yadav, Commanding Officer of 9 Para and Colonel Harpreet Sandhu, Commanding Officer of Para 4 of the Special Forces (SF), which had carried out the surgical strikes in September 2016 were honoured with the Yudh Sewa Medal (YSM).
President Honors Havaldar Hangpan Dada with Ashok Chakra Posthumously
President Pranab Mukherjee awarded the Ashok Chakra on January 26, 2017 to Havaldar Hangpan Dada posthumously for killing four terrorists who had infiltrated into north Kashmir in May 2016. The award was received by his wife Chasen Lowang at Rajpath.
- Ashok Chakra is the country’s highest peacetime military decoration awarded for courageous action or self sacrifice by an army man from battle field.
- Havildar Dada was from Boduria village in Arunachal Pradesh. He had been posted in north Kashmir since late 2015. He joined the Assam Regiment of the Indian Army in 1997 and was posted with the 35 Rashtriya Rifles.
Dr. Mahesh Sharma Inaugurates ‘Bharat Parv’ at Red Fort, Delhi
As part of the Republic Day 2017 Celebrations, the Government of India has organized Bharat Parv at the Red Fort, Delhi from January 26-31, 2017.
- Bharat Parv is a National festival to showcase country’s diverse culture, cuisines, and handicrafts. Minister of State (Independent charge) for Tourism and Culture inaugurated the event.
- Aim: To generate a patriotic mood, promote the rich cultural diversity of the country, ensure wider participation of the general public and to popularise the idea of Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat.
- The event would include display of the Republic Day Parade Tableaux, Performances by the Armed Forces Bands (static and moving), Multi-Cuisine Food Court having about 50 stalls, Crafts Mela, Cultural Performances from different regions of the country and a Photo Exhibition by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
- The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has set up a Photo Exhibition on the theme “Mera Desh Badal Raha Hai, Aage Badh Raha Hai”.
Delhi University Becomes India’s First Public University to get Monumental Flag
The Hans Raj College of Delhi University hoisted the ‘monumental’ flag on January 25, 2017 on its campus on the occasion of the 68th Republic Day celebrations, making DU the first public university in the country to get a monumental flagpole.
- The 100ft-tall flag was hoisted by Member of Parliament, Naveen Jindal, a Hans Raj alumnus and founder of the Flag Foundation of India (FFOI), a non profit firm to promote national flag.
- This is the second monumental flag by FFOI in Delhi. The first monumental flag 207ft-tall was installed in Central Park, Connaught Place.
- The decision to install the monumental flag in DU had come in the light of the controversy over the alleged shouting of anti-India slogans being raised at an event in JNU.
In February 2016, all Central university vice-chancellors resolved to install the national flag “prominently and proudly” on their campuses during a meeting chaired by then HRD Minister Smriti Irani with an aim of “instilling nationalism and pride” in students.
The Flag Foundation of India
The Flag Foundation of India was set up as a registered society under the societies registration act of 1980, a non-profit body on 3rd June 2002.
- It was set up after Hon’ble MP Mr. Naveen Jindal won a seven-year long court battle that enabled all Indians to display the National Flag with honour and pride at homes, offices and factories on all days of the year.
- On 3rd June 2002, after a long and hard legal battle fought by Mr. Naveen Jindal, the Supreme Court of India ruled that the display of the national flag by every citizen on all days of the year, a fundamental right. Thereafter, he founded the Flag Foundation of India, a non-governmental organization.
Burj Khalifa in Dubai Lits up in Tricolor
The world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, UAE was lit up on January 25, 2017 in tricolours saffron, white and green marking the 68th Republic Day of India.
- The iconic building is 823 metres high and was named in honour of the ruler of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
- The gesture showcases the strong cultural and trade ties between India and UAE
History of Republic Day
Republic Day is celebrated to honour the day on which the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950 replacing the Government of India Act (1935).
- On 28 August 1947, the Drafting Committee was appointed to draft a permanent constitution, with Dr B R Ambedkar as chairman. The Constitution was adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949.
- January 26 has been chosen as the Republic Day because it was on this day in 1930 when the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress.
- Besides, the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad also took oath on January 26, 1950.