India celebrates its 70th Republic Day today. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first leaders to greet the nation. The Republic Day celebrations will be the last big public event before the country heads for national election due by May. The Republic Day parade will begin with the laying of a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate by PM Modi. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will be the chief guest at the event.
The parade will start from Vijay Chowk and pass through Rajpath, Tilak Marg, Bahadur Shah Zafar (BSZ) Marg, Netaji Subhash Marg and proceed for the Red Fort. Twenty Two tableaux of states and central government departments will be showcased during the 90-minute parade.
Delhi has been placed under several-layer security network for today. Women commandos, mobile hit teams, anti-aircraft guns and sharpshooters have been deployed across strategic locations to keep a close watch on the eight-km-long Republic Day parade route from Rajpath to the Red Fort in central Delhi.
This year's Republic Day will see several firsts. More than 70 years after independence, veterans of Subhas Chandra Bose's Indian National Army (INA) will take part in the parade. The Railways will showcase its state-of-the-art indigenous Train 18, India's fastest train that can runs at 180 kmph. The artillery gun system M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers, recently acquired from the US will also be part of the parade.