|Delhi Republic Day parade|
A float representing the State of Maharashtra at the 2015 Republic Day Parade.
|Genre||National patriotic parade|
|Location(s)||New Delhi, India|
|Previous event||26 January 2019|
|Next event||26 January 2020|
|Organised by||Ministry of Defence|
The Delhi Republic Day parade is the largest and most important of the parades marking the Republic Day celebrations in India. The parade takes place every year on 26 January at Rajpath, New Delhi. It is the main attraction of India's Republic Day celebrations, which last for 3 days. The parade showcases India's defence capability and its cultural and social heritage.
To mark the importance of the Republic Day, every year a grand parade is held in the capital, New Delhi, from the Raisina Hill Rashtrapati Bhavan (the President's residence), along the Rajpath, past India Gate. Prior to its commencement, the Prime Minister lays a floral wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, a memorial to fallen soldiers at the India Gate at one end of Rajpath, which is followed by two minutes silence in the memory of fallen soldiers. It is a solemn reminder of the sacrifice of the martyrs who died for the country in the freedom movement and the succeeding wars for the defence of sovereignty of their country. Thereafter he/she reaches the main dias at Rajpath to join other dignitaries, subsequently the President arrives along with the chief guest of the occasion. They are escorted on horseback by the President's Bodyguard.
First, the president unfurls the National flag, as the National Anthem is played, and a 21-gun salute is given as the PBG renders the National Salute. Next, important awards like the Ashok Chakra and Kirti Chakra are given away by the President. This is followed by the regiments of Armed Forces starting their march past. The President comes forward to award the medals of bravery to the people from the armed forces for their exceptional courage in the field and also the civilians, who have distinguished themselves by their different acts of valour in different situations. Children who receive the National Bravery Award ride past the spectators on colourfully decorated elephants or vehicles.
Nine to twelve different regiments of the Indian Army in addition to the Navy, and Air Force with their bands march past in all their finery and official decorations. The President of India who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, takes the salute. Twelve contingents of various para-military forces of India and other civil forces also take part in this parade. One of the unique sights of the parade is the camel mounted Border Security Force contingent, which is the only camel mounted military force in the world. The best N.C.C. cadets, selected from all over the country consider it an honour to participate in this event, as do the school children from various schools in the capital. They spend many days preparing for the event and no expense is spared to see that every detail is taken care of, from their practice for the drills, the essential props and their uniforms. 22 to 30 floats exhibiting the cultures of the various states and union territories of India, including floats of union ministries and state enterprises are in the grand parade, which is broadcast nationwide on television and radio. These moving exhibits depict scenes of activities of people in those states and the music and songs of that particular state accompany each display. Each display brings out the diversity and richness of the culture of India and the whole show lends a festive air to the occasion. Around 1200 schoolchildren present cultural dances as part of the parade. The 2016 Republic Day marked the return of K-9 Dog Squad to the parade after 26 years.
The parade traditionally ends with dare devil motor cycle riding display by motorcycle units of the Armed Forces and civil security services and a flypast by the Indian Air Force jets and helicopters carrying the national flag and the flags of the three services.
Comprising over 25 marching and mounted contingents, various military vehicles, 20 military bands, 30 cultural tableaux and 30 aircraft in addition to cultural performers and 1200 schoolchildren, India's Republic Day Parade in New Delhi is one of the most spectacular regular parade in the world.
Every part of the country is represented in the parade, which makes the Republic Day parade very popular. A full dress rehearsal Parade is also organized on 23 January every year to take stock of the preparedness.
The Beating Retreat ceremony officially denotes the end of Republic Day festivities. It is conducted on the evening of 29 January, the third day after the Republic Day. It is performed by the bands of the three wings of the military, the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. The venue is Raisina Hills and an adjacent square, Vijay Chowk, flanked by the north and south block of the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's Palace) towards the end of Rajpath.
The Chief Guest of the function is the President of India who arrives escorted by the Presidential Body Guard (PBG), a cavalry unit. When the President arrives, the PBG commander asks the unit to give the National Salute, which is followed by playing of the Indian National Anthem, Jana Gana Mana, by the Army developed the ceremony of display by the massed bands in which Military Bands, Pipe and Drum Bands, Buglers and Trumpeters from various Army Regiments besides bands from the Navy and Air Force take part which play popular tunes like Abide With Me, Mahatma Gandhi's favourite hymn, and Saare Jahan Se Achcha at the end.
Since 1950, India has been hosting a head of state or government of another country as the state guest of honour for Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi. During 1950-1954, Republic Day celebrations were organised at different venues (like Irwin Stadium (National Stadium), Kingsway (Rajpath), Red Fort and Ramlila grounds). It was only starting 1955 when the parade in its present form was organised at Rajpath. The guest country is chosen after a deliberation of strategic, economic and political interests. During the 1950s-1970s, a number of NAM and Eastern Bloc countries were hosted by India. In the post-Cold War era, India has also invited several Western leaders on a state visit during the Republic Day. It is notable that before India fought wars with China and Pakistan, leaders from these countries were invited as state guests for the Republic Day celebrations. The Pakistan Food and Agriculture Minister was the second state guest from that country for Republic Day in 1965, a few days after which the two countries went to a war. Countries which have been invited multiple times include India's neighbours (Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Mauritius), defence allies (Russia/USSR, France and Britain), trade partners (Brazil) and NAM allies (Nigeria, Indonesia and erstwhile Yugoslavia). France has the distinction of being the guest of honour for the maximum (five) number of times followed by four visits from Bhutan and three visits each from Mauritius and USSR/Russia. In 2015, the US President Barack Obama was the Chief Guest at Republic Day celebrations, followed by French president François Hollande during the 2016 Republic Day parade. In 2017, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan from the United Arab Emirates was the Chief Guest of the parade.
In 2016, French Army soldiers and French Army Band took part in the 67th Republic Day parade. This marked the first time since the beginning of the parade in 1950, that a foreign army contingent marched down the Rajpath during the Republic Day parade.
|Year||Best marching contingent among the three services (led by)||Best marching contingent among paramilitary forces and other auxiliary marching contingents|
|1983||2 CHD BN NCC (Senior Under Officer Ubhey Bharti Trikha)|
|1991||Madras Engineer Group (2nd Lt Vivek Jaswal)|
|1994||3rd Gorkha Rifles ( Major J. S. Tanwar)|
|1996||Brigade of the Guards (Capt. Arun Malik)|
|1997||Madras Engineer Group (Lt Pranay Dangwal)||Border Security Force|
|1998||Bombay Engineer Group ( Capt. Atul Suryavanshi )||Indo-Tibetan Border Police|
|1999||Indo-Tibetan Border Police|
|2000||Indo-Tibetan Border Police|
|2001||Madras Regiment||Delhi Police|
|2003||Madras Engineer Group||Delhi Police|
|2004||Indo-Tibetan Border Police|
|2005||Sikh Regiment||Delhi Police|
|2007||Jat Regiment||Central Industrial Security Force|
|2008||Rajputana Rifles||Central Industrial Security Force|
|2009||Territorial Army||Central Reserve Police Force|
|2010||Dogra Regiment||Central Reserve Police Force|
|2011||Indian Air Force||Indo-Tibetan Border Police|
|2012||Indian Air Force||Border Security Force|
|2013||Indian Air Force and Indian Navy||Central Industrial Security Force|
|2014||Sikh Light Infantry||Central Reserve Police Force|
|2015||Brigade of the Guards and Sikh Regiment||Central Industrial Security Force|
|2016||Assam Regiment||Border Security Force|
|2017||Madras Engineer Group||Central Industrial Security Force|
|2018||Punjab Regiment||Indo-Tibetan Border Police|
|2019||Gorkha Brigade||Central Reserve Police Force|
|2001||Rajasthan||Ministry of Railways||Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir|
|2002||Jammu and Kashmir|
|2005||Karnataka||Department of Justice||Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Ministry of Railways|
|2007||Orissa||Ministry of Culture||Maharashtra|
|2008||Kerala||Karnataka||Ministry of Human Resource Development|
|2009||Kerala||Maharashtra||Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir|
|2010||Ministry of Culture||Goa||Chhattisgarh|
|2012||Ministry of Human Resource Development||Goa||Karnataka|
|2014||West Bengal||Tamil Nadu||Assam|
|2017||Arunachal Pradesh||Tripura||Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu|
|2019||Tripura||Jammu and Kashmir||Punjab|