From lack of chief guest to separate farmers' parade, here's how Republic Day 2021 will be different

Like everything else, the 72nd Republic Day function has also been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the event to be scaled down.

Published: 25th January 2021 03:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th January 2021 03:30 PM   |  A+A-

India flag

Indian flag (File Photo | PTI)

By Online Desk

Every year the Republic Day is celebrated with a parade that involves a grand show of strength in front of crowds of more than a lakh including special international guests gathered to witness the extravagant display.

But the celebrations will be quite different in 2021. 

Like everything else, the 72nd Republic Day function has also been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the event to be scaled down.

Here are the key changes this year:

R-Day sans a chief guest

Earlier, British PM Boris Johnson was invited as the chief guest for the event. But following the discovery of a new COVID-19 strain in the UK, the country went into repeated lockdowns to combat the situation and Johnson was forced to withdraw his participation.

Social distancing

The crowd size has come down to 25,000 this time from around 1.25 lakh in previous years. The seating will also be spaced out to maintain social distancing.

Rafale jets 

Two of the newly inducted Rafale fighter aircraft will feature in the Republic Day flypast. Each Rafale fighter will be flying in Eklavya formation and Brahmastra formation.

First female IAF fighter pilot

Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth will be part of the Republic Day parade this year, becoming the first woman fighter pilot to participate in the ceremonial event on January 26.

"I had been watching the Republic Day Parade on television and now I am going to be a part of it. It is a matter of pride for me," said Bhawana to The New Indian Express.

Bangladesh contingent

A 122-member contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces (tri-services) will take part in this year's parade as a special invitee. It is the golden jubilee year of Bangladesh’s independence following the war of 1971 in which India offered support.

Tractor rally

The tractor parade by agitating farmers on January 26, like the Republic Day parade at Rajpath, will feature tableaux depicting themes related to the protest against the new farm laws.

According to the organisers, these tableaux from across states will also provide glimpses of village life, the history of the farmers’ movement in India, the role of women farmers and farming practices followed in different states. 

Around 2,500 volunteers have been deployed to ensure that the parade remains peaceful.

Only five people will be allowed on a tractor and strict vigil is being maintained to thwart any criminal activity. A team of ex-servicemen will keep an eye on the security situation.

(With inputs from ENS and agencies)

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