Border Security Force (BSF) camel contingent marches through Rajpath, the ceremonial boulevard, during the 70th Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, Jan. 26, 2019. Thousands of Indians have converged on a ceremonial boulevard to watch a parade displaying the country's military power and cultural diversity amid tight security measures during the 70th Republic Day celebrations. (Xinhua/Partha Sarkar)
Border Security Force (BSF) camel contingent marches through Rajpath, the ceremonial boulevard, during the 70th Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, Jan. 26, 2019. Thousands of Indians have converged on a ceremonial boulevard to watch a parade displaying the country's military power and cultural diversity amid tight security measures during the 70th Republic Day celebrations. (Xinhua/Partha Sarkar)

The Indian government on Saturday celebrated the 70th Republic Day amid tight security measures, officials said.

The main function was organized at Rajpath in New Delhi, the national capital.In accordance with the tradition, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind unfurled the Indian national flag, following which the national anthem was played with a 21 gun salute.The president took the salute of parade and flypast.”A grand parade of forces and a majestic flypast by fighter jets of the air force today marked the 70th Republic Day,” an official said.

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“During the parade, the country’s military prowess, state-of-the-art defence platforms, and diverse culture were on full display.”Twenty-two tableaux from the states and federal government depicted various themes and the life and ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.

The overall theme for the Republic Day celebrations this year was the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi. Gandhi is considered as the father of the Indian nation for being at the forefront of the country’s independence movement.During the function, military contingents, police and paramilitary marched past the podium and children showcased colourful cultural performances.Several VIPs and foreign dignitaries attended the event. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was the Chief Guest at the parade this year.

Ramaphosa was accompanied by first lady Tshepo Motsepe and a high-level delegation, including nine ministers, senior officials and a 50-member business contingent.The parade started from Vijay Chowk and proceeded towards the Red Fort grounds.For the first time, all women marching contingent of the Assam Rifles took part in the parade. Assam Rifles is an oldest paramilitary force active in India’s northeast.

The Clean India Movement was one of the themes of the tableaux. The movement, locally named as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, was initiated in India in 2014. The program envisages eradication of open defecation which is prevalent in India, building of public toilets and cleaning up public places, among other things related to cleanliness.During the parade, main battle tank of the Indian army, T- 90 Bhishma, infantry combat vehicle ballway machine pikate, K-9 Vajra-T, ultra light howitzer and Akash weapon system were the main draws.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to twitter to greet people on the Republic Day.”Happy Republic Day to all fellow Indians,” Modi wrote on twitter.

“India’s military and security prowess at Rajpath. Ours is a land of peace, which has shown the way when it comes to harmony and brotherhood. At the same time, we are fully prepared to give a strong answer to those elements who disturb the atmosphere of peace and spread violence.”Officials said thousands of police and paramilitary personnel were deployed in the city to ensure culmination of function smoothly.

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