In Pictures: India celebrates Republic Day with military parade
India traditionally invites foreign leaders as guests of honour to the parade but did not this year due to the pandemic.
Indian soldiers march during the Republic Day parade in capital New Delhi. [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]
26 Jan 2022
Thousands of Indians have braved chilly morning temperatures to gather on a ceremonial boulevard in the capital New Delhi to watch a display of the country’s military power and cultural diversity, though the colourful spectacle was curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nearly 500 schoolchildren, folk dancers, police and military battalions, floats and stunt performers on motorbikes paraded from the presidential palace through the refurbished, tree-lined Rajpath Boulevard on Wednesday.
President Ram Nath Kovind took the salute from the marching columns, which also included a camel-mounted Border Security Force regiment, its moustachioed riders led by shiny brass bands with tubas.
The 90-minute parade ended with a flypast featuring 75 air force fighters, including Rafale jets, transport planes and helicopters.
Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the National War Memorial in New Delhi, where he laid a wreath as he paid his respects during a ceremony also attended by military personnel.
Only double-vaccinated adults and single-dose vaccinated children of 15 and above were allowed to attend the parade.
With COVID-19 cases surging around the country, attendance was slashed to between 5,000 and 8,000 from last year’s 25,000, and there were no foreign guests of honour.
Republic Day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the country’s constitution on January 26, 1950. India won independence from British colonial rule in 1947.
To allow the parade to go ahead, workers also rushed to complete construction work on a multibillion-dollar revamp of a government complex in the heart of New Delhi that will include a new parliament building.
Critics have called the overhaul of the area lined with colonial-era buildings and trees a needless and wasteful vanity project for Modi.
The 90-minute parade ended with a flypast featuring 75 air force fighters, including Rafale jets, transport planes and helicopters. [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks to a presidential guard after the Republic Day parade. [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]
Dancers perform during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi. [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]
The parade started half an hour late to ensure better visibility for participants and of the flypast. [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]
India’s Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) "Daredevils" motorcycle riders perform during the Republic Day parade. [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]
Spectators watch India's 73rd Republic Day parade at the Rajpath in New Delhi. [Money Sharma/AFP]
A tableau from Chhattisgarh state is displayed during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi. [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]
An officer salutes atop an Arjun Tank during the Republic Day parade on the Rajpath in New Delhi. [Money Sharma/AFP]
The number of people watching the parade was limited and included only fully vaccinated adults and children over 15 who have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. [Money Sharma/AFP]