NEW DELHI: India is set to celebrate its 75th Republic Day on Friday with an impressive display of its military might and rich cultural heritage at the Kartavya Path in the heart of the national capital.
The grand celebrations, with an overarching theme of projecting the nation's women power and democratic values, will be graced by French President Emmanuel Macron as the chief guest.
President Droupadi Murmu will lead the nation in celebrating Republic Day with a 90-minute parade on the ceremonial boulevard -- Kartavya Path.
The armed forces will display an array of home-grown weaponry and military equipment such as missiles, drone jammers, surveillance systems, vehicle-mounted mortars and BMP-II infantry combat vehicles at the parade.
For the first time, an all-women tri-services contingent will be part of the event.
Also, the parade will be heralded by over 100 women artistes playing Indian musical instruments such as Sankh, Naadswaram, and Nagada for the first time instead of the traditional military bands.
Around 15 women pilots will also enthral the audience during the Indian Air Force's fly-past, representing 'Nari Shakti'.
The contingents of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) will also consist of only women personnel.
The Republic Day parade is slated to commence at 10:30 am and will be held for around 90 minutes.
The ceremony will start with the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the National War Memorial, where he will lead the nation in paying solemn tributes to the fallen heroes by laying a wreath.
Minutes later, President Murmu and her French counterpart Macron will arrive in the 'traditional buggy', a practice that is making a comeback after a gap of 40 years, the defence ministry said.
The national flag will be unfurled followed by the national anthem with a 21-gun salute to be given with indigenous gun system 105-mm Indian Field Guns.
Four Mi-17 IV helicopters of the 105 Helicopter Unit will shower flower petals on the audience present at Kartavya Path.
This will be followed by 'Aavaahan', a band performance by over 100 women artistes playing various types of percussion instruments.
The parade will then commence with President Murmu taking the salute.
It will be commanded by Lieutenant General Bhavnish Kumar, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area.
The Kartavya Path will also be witness to a march past by a combined band and marching contingent of the French Armed Forces.
A total of 16 tableaux from states and Union territories and nine from central ministries and departments will roll down the Kartavya Path during the parade.
The states and Union territories from where the tableaux will take part in the parade are Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Ladakh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.