52nd Republic Day of India was celebrated with traditional
enthusiasm throughout the country. The Republic Day Parade
2001 was organised at Rajpath in New Delhi. This was also an
occasion to exhibit India's power and pride to the
Day programme commenced at Amar Jawan Jyoti. On behalf
of the nation, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee
paid homage to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the
service of the nation.
President and the Supreme Commander of the Defence Forces, Mr
K R Narayanan arrived at Rajpath along with the President of
Algeria, Mr Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the chief guest at the
Republic Day Parade. Soon after his arrival, the President was
given a 21-gun salute by the gunners of 81 Field Battery of
the 12 Field Regiment. The Battery was commanded by Maj Thomas
Joseph. These were the most versatile guns used in the second
world war and are used now for ceremonial purposes.
spectacular event started on the western sky above the
Rashtrapati Bhawan where four
Mi-8 helicopters were flying towards the saluting dais in
inverted `Y' formation. The helicopters were commanded by Wg
Cdr A K Pradhan. The leading helicopter was trooping the
national flag and the second one was trooping the Army flag.
The third and fourth helicopters were trooping Navy and Air
Force flags respectively and showered flower petals on the
parade was commanded by Maj Gen V Bhanot, General Officer
Commanding, Delhi Area. He was followed by Brig R L Singh,
Deputy General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area. He led the
parade from India Gate to Chandni Chowk. With the tune of
Cavalry Brigade, the horse - mounted contingent of the 61
Cavalry approached the saluting dais. This contingent was led
by Maj Shailendra Singh. The 61 Cavalry is the only surviving
horse cavalry in the world today. They have won twenty battle
honours and six theatre honours.
horse - mounted columns were followed by the indigenous Main
Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun of the 43 Armoured Regiment.
Maj N M Sharma commanded this contingent. Arjun is
fitted with 120 mm gun, 12.7 mm anti-aircraft gun and coaxial
7.62 mm machine gun. True to its name, Arjun has an
accurate and fast target acquisition capability during day and
night in all types of weather. Following it was the 155 mm
Field Howitzer 77 B. This contingent was drawn from 218 Medium
Regiment and commanded by Maj Jangbir Singh Rangi. The guns
were towed by Scania. The Howitzer has a maximum range of 30
kilometres and has a burst fire capability of three rounds in
14 seconds. It is the pride of the Indian Artillery.
approaching the saluting dais was Prithvi missile
system, led by Maj S K Sahoo of the Missile Group.
Indigenously developed and inducted into the Indian Army, the
missile is capable of striking terror in the hearts of the
enemy by its long reach and destruction capability. The
Defence Research and Development Laboratory at Hyderabad
developed this versatile weapon. It can deliver warheads upto
one ton and its range is about 150 km with high precision.
was the three tracked vehicles of Tunguska Air Defence
weapon system. This weapon system of 514 Air Defence Regiment
was led by Lt Sandeep Duhan. Tunguska weapon system is
the latest acquisition by the Indian Army and is used to
provide low-level air defence to the mechanised forces.
followed by the improved Reporter Radar of 612 Radar Battery
of 612 independent Mechanised Air Defence Brigade. The
contingent commander was Capt Govind Singh. The Reporter Radar
has been introduced to the Indian Army as a part of Air
Defence Artillery in September 1998. The Reporters are a
state-of- the-art equipment capable of low-level surveillance
of flying aircraft and helicopters upto a range of 40 kms.
T-72 tanks fitted with Engineer Mine Plough (EMP) of 114
Armoured Engineer Regiment were the next on display. This
contingent was led by Lt Alip Kumar Roy. The PMS bridging
equipment of 16 Engineer Bridge Regiment followed the EMP.
This contingent was led by Lt Sheel Mohan Kala.
Bikram Singh led the BMP-II infantry combat vehicles of the
8th Battalion of Mechanised Infantry Regiment. These most
advanced infantry combat vehicles give the infantry soldiers a
matching mobility with the armoured columns as well as protect
them from small-arms fire of the enemy during assault.
contingent which approached the dais was the elite
Paratroopers and the Para Commandos led by Maj A S Ranade.
band of Bengal Engineer Group Centre and Guards Regimental
Centre crossed the saluting dais playing the tune, queen of
the battle. It was led by Sub Ganesh Chhetri and Sub B S
Yadav. Following the band was the Madras Regiment led by Maj N
Seshagiri Rao. This was followed by Maratha Light Infantry led
by Capt Ravi Kiran.
Next was the
combined band of Para Regimental Centre and the Jat Regimental
Centre playing the tune vir kargil. It was led by Sub
Rohtas Singh and Sub Maj Suresh Chander.
bajrang bali ki jai as their war-cry the Rajput Regiment
crossed the saluting dais. It was commanded by Capt Paras
Tomar. The first Commander-in-Chief of the Independent India,
late Field Marshal K M Cariappa was from this Regiment.
in peace and victory in war" is the motto of the Sikh
Light Infantry which crossed the dais next under the command
of Lt Rajesh Dahiya. The band following the two contingents
was drawn from the Sikh Regimental Centre and Sikh Light
Infantry Regimental Centre. The Band Masters were Sub Maj Dhir
Singh and Sub Maj Wazir Singh.
contingent crossing the saluting dais was Garhwal Rifles
commanded by Capt Vinod Singh Negi. The Garhwal Rifles, in 113
years of its history, has won 30 battle honours. It was
followed by the highly decorated Regiment of the Indian
Army-the Kumaon Regiment. Capt Shashank Shekhar commanded the
contingent. This Regiment has the rare honour of giving three
Chiefs of the Army Staff to the Army. The band playing the
tune of chhatwal was drawn from the Bihar Regimental
Centre and Assam Regimental Centre and was led by Sub Maj BP
Sharma and Nb Sub Suk Bahadur.
Maj Sunil Edwin
commanded the next contingent of the Assam Regiment. Maj Vikas
Vohra, who won Vir Chakra for his gallantry in Kargil
operations, commanded the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles contingent
which followed the contingent of the Assam Regiment.
The next band,
drawn from Mahar Regimental Centre and 39 Gorkha Training
Centre playing the tune of vir gorkha, was led by Sub
Maj S B Gurung and Sub Ram Bahadur. The legendary Gorkha
Rifles contingent was drawn from 3 Gorkha Rifles of the 39
Gorkha Training Centre and was led by Maj Rajeev Nangyal.
contingent crossing the saluting dais was 5 Gorkha Rifles of
58 Gorkhas Training Centre and was commanded by Capt Sandeep
Thapa. Following this contingent was a combination of bands
from 1 EME Centre and Pioneer Training Centre led by Sub Maj
Hari Prasad and Sub D Lambart. The contingent following Gorkha
Rifles was 102 Infantry Battalion of the Territorial Army.
This contingent was led by Capt Vikrant Kaushal.
Next came the Naval Band
which led the Naval marching contingents. The band was led by
Ramesh Chand, Chief Petty Officer, Master Musician 1. The
sentinels of the sea were led by Lieutenant Commander Rajiv
Ashok. The 144-strong marching contingent was led by
Lieutenants J Ravi and S K Dutta and Sub Lieutenant Lalitha.
It was followed by a model of an attack submarine of the Sindhu
Shastra class. This submarine is capable of firing long
range supersonic cruise missiles that can attack targets deep
in land. The spectators were delighted to see the prestigious
models of the Indian Navy's latest class of stealth destroyers
and frigates, INS Mumbai and INS Talwar.
The Air Force
contingent was heralded by a smart band group comprising 72
musicians and two Drum Majors. It was led by Junior Warrant
Officer D Pal. This was followed by the Air Force marching
contingent consisting of 144 Airmen in a box formation of 12
abreast and 12 deep in their smart uniforms. This contingent
was led by Sqn Ldr Anuj Gupta. Next approaching the saluting
dais was the aerial target system - Lakshya designed,
developed and manufactured by the Aeronautical Development
Agency of the DRDO. This state-of-the-art aerial system is
designed to operate at subsonic speed at a maximum height of
30,000 feet. It is capable of high manoeuvers. It also has a
realistic threat simulation for combat pilots and
surface-to-air guided weapons. Following Lakshya was Indra-II
radar designed by LRDE, Bangalore and produced by Bharat
electronics. Indra-II is a low-level radar catering to
the vital `gap filling' need in air defence network.
achievement of India to come next was OSA-AK-M combat vehicle
which is a highly mobile surface-to-air guided weapon system.
This weapon system provides a high probability of hitting a
target flying within the effective fire area at a great
variety of speeds and heights. It can select a target even
when on move and also at halt and launch the missile in a very
short time. Next came Mi-35 helicopter, the prestigious flying
machine of the Air Force. The MiG-21 BIS, which followed
Mi-35, is fitted with guided missiles, rockets and aerial
The turn of the
Jaguar aircraft came next. This aircraft is equipped
with state-of-the-art avionics, attack systems and lethal
weaponry. The aircraft can not only attack ground based enemy
targets but also maritime targets hundreds of kilometres deep
into the sea. The Jaguar aircraft was followed by Sujav,
a compact communication electronic warfare system used for
spectrum monitoring and jamming. Then, Safari
approached the dais. This is an electronic security system
developed by the DRDO for vehicular convoy protection against
remote control explosive devices. The next admirable invention
of DRDO on display was the technology of making fresh food
available locally in cold deserts using solar green houses and
The next float
infront of the saluting dais was depicting the operation of
mounted sonar Humsa, airborne sonar Mihir, towed
array sonar Nagan, the AET torpedo and intelligent
Next came the
magestic columns of Pipes and Drums from various regiments of
the Indian Army led by Band Master M N Chakraband. The proud
ex-servicemen who devoted their youth to the service of the
nation marched on the heels. Among the para-military and other
auxiliary civil forces, BSF came first. Their band consisting
of 84 personnel was led by Band Master Sub N C Nath. Following
was the sturdy and smartly dressed foot contingent of the
Border Security Forces commanded by Deputy Commandant, Sumer
Singh. This force was raised in 1965 and is one of the single
largest para military forces in the world. Next was the
beautiful BSF camel contingent commanded by the Assistant
Commandant, Shaitan Singh Bhati. The smartly decked camel
mounted band of BSF was led by Sub Inspector Hassan Khan.
force aptly called the sentinels of the North-East Assam
Rifles, is the oldest paramilitary force of the country. Led
by Capt Amit Srivatsav, its contingent crossed the dais with
pride. The Assam Rifles band following the contingent was led
by Nb Sub Nar Bhupal Sharma.
attired marching contingent of the Coast Guard crossed the
saluting dais under the command of Deputy Commandant, M
Venkatesan. The Coast Guard, known as the fourth Armed Force,
protects India's 6.2 million sq km Exclusive Economic Zone.
They also keep sea pirates at bay. The CRPF band, comprising
101 men, was commanded by Inspector Shiv Bahadur Singh. He has
the distinction of participating 27 times in the Republic Day
parade. The Assistant Commander, Manish Kumar Meena commanded
the CRPF contingent.
Netra Lal Thapa led the Indo-Tibetan Border Police band and
the contingent was commanded by Assistant Commandant Jaideep
Singh. These sturdy and brave officers and men of the ITBP
keep a constant visit on the northern border high altitude
area braving inhospitable climate and sub-zero temperature
going down to - 40o celsius.
dressed contingent of the Central Industrial Security Force
was commanded by Assistant Commandant J K Tiwari. This force
is entrusted with the security of 256 vital establishments
including space centres, atomic energy plants, oil
installations and steel plants and is also providing fire
protection cover to 82 installations across the country. It
was followed by the CISF band led by Sub Inspector S S Gill.
Protection Force contingent consisting of 3 subordinate
officers and 144 other ranks was commanded by Assistant
Security Commissioner Vijay Kumar Singh. The Delhi Police band
was led by Sub Inspector Muralidhar and the contingent was
commanded by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Deepak Purohit.
The NCC senior
division boys contingent, comprising 148 young and energetic
NCC cadets, marched towards the saluting dais under the
command of Senior Under Officer S M Kalra. The next contingent
was of boys NCC comprising 45 cadets led by Sergeant Imran
Khan. After that the senior division NCC girls contingent
marched under the command of Senior Under Officer Pramila
Mohite, followed by the girls from Birla Balika Vidyapeeth,
Pilani. Sergeant Vandana Rawat led the band. Then came the
turn of the National Service Scheme contingent comprising 148
volunteers drawn from 138 schools and colleges and 71
universities from all over the country. The contingent was led
by Renu Kumawat.
It was a joyful
moment for the spectators to witness the colourful
extravaganza presented by the cultural pageant tableaux from
different states. The first tableau came from Kerala depicting
the most colourful temple festival, Thrissur Pooram.
The second tableau presented some scenes from Ghalib's Delhi.
The tableau of
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the theme of ‘Arogya’
exhibited the gifts of nature in the form of herbs and
medicinal plants whereas the Gujarat tableau displayed uttarardh
utsav and the Sun Temple. The Karnataka tableau depicted
India's impressive growth in the information technology sector
while the Manipur tableau showed artistes staging the last day
of Kanglei Haraoba Lairoi festival.
popularly known as ‘Sonar Kila’, and the music that
flourished under its patronage were presented in the tableau
of Rajasthan. The tableau of Assam highlighted the ‘silk
story’ of the state through moths and caterpillars.
from Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and
Kashmir and from the ministries of Tourism, Petroleum and
Natural Gas and Textile delighted the spectators very much.
responded with a thunderous applause as twentythree children,
who bagged the National Bravery Award, crossed the saluting
dais on elephants. Then the spectators witnessed colourful
dances on various themes performed by groups of school
children from all over the country.
of the spectators stopped for a moment as they saw the feats
by the dare devils of ASC Tornadoes team, led by Capt S Das.
flypast by 19 aircraft of the Indian Air Forces was the most
memorable spectacle of the parade. Leading the flypast was the
`Big Boy' formation comprising three types of transport
aircraft. This formation was led by Gp Capt S P Singh at a
speed of 300 kms per hour and at the height of 300 metres. It
was followed by three Sukhoi-30 in ‘vic’ formations
at a speed of 780 kms per hour and at a height of 300 metres.
This formation was led by Wg Cdr S Mohan. This was followed by
two formations of Jaguar aircraft in shockwave
formation. The first formation was led by Wg Cdr A Bhaku and
the second was led by Wg Cdr RKS Bhaduria. It was Sqn Ldr U
Rakhra, who performed vertical charlie by Sukhoi-30 aircraft
to draw the curtain on yet another grand spectacle that was
the Republic Day 2001.
: A Chandra Mohan
: B D Maitra, Deepak Das,
K Singh, Guru Dutt Mehra and Om