Bangladesh Armed Forces Participated in the Republic Day Parade of India

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A 122 members team of Bangladesh Armed Forces Contingent participated in the Republic Day parade of India. Bangladeshi contingent marked the third instance of a military contingent from a friendly foreign nation participating in the parade. The first was France in 2016, and then UAE in 2017.

Republic Day honors the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January, 1950, replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India and thus, turning the nation into a newly formed republic. Every year, Republic day is celebrated with a spectacular parade on Rajpath in Delhi. The parade displays India’s military strength, progress, and culture.

On 26 January 2021, India celebrated its 72nd Republic Day, under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic with an exhibition of its military prowess, cultural diversity and tradition. The event commenced with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate for the wreath-laying ceremony. President Ram Nath Kovind, the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces, officially began the Republic Day parade with the flag hoisting ceremony.

COVID-19 induced restrictions in this year’s Republic Day; Shorter route for the parade, fewer spectators (25 thousand only), no foreign chief guest, no motorcycle stunts, no bravery awards, smaller marching contingents, no children below 15 and elderly with comorbidities, no shoulder-to-shoulder march, with a distance of 1.5m between two persons. The parade marched 3.5 km, earlier the distance was 8.5 km. The number of tableaus increased to 32. The size of every contingent has been cut short to 96 members instead of 144. Mask, temperature check, sanitizer and medical teams at each enclosure. Week-long ‘Bharat Parv’ event was not celebrated. Only 4,000 seats for the Beating Retreat ceremony compared with 25,000 earlier, no standing spectators were allowed. For the first time in 55 years, there was no chief guest at this year’s parade, after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed “regret” that he would not be able to visit India.

The route of the marching contingent ended at the India Gate C-Hexagon instead of Red Fort. Keeping in mind social distancing, the size of marching contingents was reduced from 144 to 96. All members of the tableaux contingents from various states, ministries and government departments underwent COVID testing. A total of 32 tableaux-17 of various states and UTs, nine of ministries and six from the defence arm marched down Rajpath this year. 90% of the Territorial Army’s contingent comprised of people from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, who came to the mainland for the first time.

President Kovind, in his speech, paid his respect to India’s armed forces, farmers, and COVID warriors, for making the country self-reliant. The president also made a veiled attack on China, saying that “India faced an expansionist move on its borders”.

With the theme of ‘Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan: COVID’ – the tableau of the Department of Biotechnology.

This year, 18 marching contingents – 16 marching and two animal-mounted- participated in the parade from the armed forces, paramilitary forces, Delhi Police, NCC and NSS, along with 36 bands. The Indian Navy’s tableau showcased the 1971 war, INS Vikrant conducted flying operations with Sea Hawk and Alize aircrafts.

Dakotas airlifted troops to Kashmir Valley to repel invaders from across border in 1947.  They played a significant role in Tangail airdrop leading to Bangladesh’s liberation in 1971.

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