The Indian Republic Day parade in New Delhi is one of the most watched and respected spectacles for Indians worldwide. While New Delhi remains the main venue for national celebration, every state in India and every Indian embassy across the world celebrates the republic day with colourful parades, dances and cultural programmes.
Here are six things you should know about this year's celebration,
1. Chief Guest
A great time of pride for Indian expats in the UAE, the chief guest for this year's Republic Day parade is Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces. He arrived in India on Tuesday.
2. Presidential Speech
The Presidential speech on the eve of Republic Day is a much anticipated occasion for all Indians and you can watch a webcast of the speech by President Pranab Mukherjee here. Ambassadors, in their respective countries, read out the speech in the embassies before celebrations begin.
3. UAE contingent marches with India
Every year, the parade and the celebrations get even more colourful and, for the first time since 1950, foreign troops marched down the Rajpath on Republic Day last year. French troops, the 35th Infantry Regiment of 7th Armoured Brigade, marched alongside Indian soldiers. This year, 179 soldiers from the UAE (which includes 144 soldiers and 35 band members), will lead the parade.
4. First-time participants
Last year, a ‘first’ for the 67th Republic Day parade was an all-women contingent performing stunts, known as the ‘Women Daredevils CRPF’. India's elite counter-terror group, the National Security Guard, will march in the parade for the first time ever this year. India's very own Light Combat Aircraft will also make its debut appearance this year.
5. Traditional highlights
The traditional BSF contingent astride camels, and fifty-one horses of 61st Cavalry Regiment are two major highlights. Performances by school children and tableau groups, and an aerial flypast by the Indian Air Force with 27 aircrafts are also major attractions this year, as they are every time.
The list of Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri awards have been announced. These are three of the highest civilian awards awarded by the Government of India and were instituted in 1954. Every year, the list of awardees is announced on January 25, before the Republic day celebrations take place on the 26th.
The Padma Vibhushan awardees for 2017 include legendary singer, Yesudas and political leaders Sharad Pawar and Murli Manohar Joshi. In sports, Viral Kohli (cricketer), Dipa Karmakar (gymnast), Vikas Gowda (discus throw) and P.R. Sreejesh (hockey) have been awarded the Padma Shri. Other awardees include AIDS researcher Dr Suniti Solomon, Imrat Khan (artist), Anuradha Koirala (social worker), Bhavna Somaiya (film critic), Vishwa Mohan Bhat (music) and Anuradha Paudwal (singer).
Celebrating in the UAE
Burj Khalifa LED show
The Burj Khalifa will light up in the colours of the Indian flag today and tomorrow (January 25 and 26) in salute to the Indian Republic Day. The shows will be at 6.15pm, 7.15pm and 8.15pm on both days along with complimenting Dubai Fountain shows.
Indian Consulate in Dubai has a flag-hoisting ceremony at the consulate premises by Consul General Mr. Anurag Bhushan (followed by flag-hoisting at the Indian High School (IHS) grounds in Oud Metha). The ceremony at IHS will include a march-past by the students and other cultural activities as well.
In the evening, a musical programme will be hosted at the Indian High School where prominent artists from India such as Anu Kapoor, Talat Aziz among others, will be performing some of their evergreen hits. A cultural programme titled ‘Bharat Meri Shaan 2 – Aaj KJ Shaam Desh Ke Naam’ will also be held as part of the event that kicks off at 7pm on January 26.
Flag-hoisting ceremony by Consul General Mr. Anurag Bhushan, Indian Consulate in Dubai 8am Flag-hoisting at the Indian High School, Oud Metha 9am Cultural program 7pm (No entry fees) Date January 26
A flag-hoisting ceremony will take place at the Indian embassy premises by Indian ambassador to the UAE Mr. Navdeep Suri, followed by a reading of the presidential address to the nation. The event will also have cultural programs by students from various schools in Abu Dhabi.
Flag-hoisting ceremony by Charge d’ Affaires (a.i.) Pavan Kumar Rai 8am followed by other programs