Tuesday June 19, 2018
Home India India shows g...

India shows glimpse of heritage and military precision at Republic Day parade

0
//
108
Republic Day Parade
Republish
Reprint

New Delhi: The Republic Day parade in Delhi, with time has come to known for a mix of military precision and the country’s diverse cultural heritage. The parade gives a beautiful glimpse of both and this year was no different except for its business like and minimalistic nature.

The display of military prowess was without flourish. President Pranab Mukherjee took the salute from an enclosed podium on the magnificent Rajpath boulevard as the chief guest on the occasion, French President Francois Hollande, looked on at the passing men and machines of the services.

For the first time, a contingent from the French 35th Infantry Regiment – elements of which had served in India in 1781-84 – was given the honour of leading the marching contingents and it performed with panache, preceded by a pipes and drums band and saluting in a rather unusual style with the right hand held straight across the chest.

The celebrations began with Prime Minister Narendra Modi – dressed in a brown bandgalla suit and sporting a saffron Gujarati turban – driving to the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial to the Unknown Soldier at India Gate and laying a wreath in honour of the countless Indian soldiers who have died in battles since World War I.

Modi then drove up to the saluting base to receive Mukherjee and the visiting French President.

The President’s Bodyguard presented the national salute, the tricolour was unfurled and the national anthem was played to set the tone for a rather poignant moment – the posthumous presentation of the Ashok Chakra, the country’s highest gallantry award in peacetime. It was presented this year to the widow of Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami of the Parachute Regiment, who laid down his life while fighting terrorists in the Kashmir Valley last September.

The emotion on Mukherjee’s face was visible as he presented the medal and the citation to Goswami’s widow.

The French contingent apart, there was much that was different this time around. The armoured element was bare-boned – just the T-90 Bhishma main battle tank and the BMP infantry combat vehicle – the marching contingents were fewer, as were the massed bands.

Then, instead of a marching continent of ex-servicemen, there was a tableau dedicated to them in the first part of the parade, an army dog squad with handlers made an appearance after 26 years, and the camel-mounted troopers of the Border Security Force brought up the rear of the parade’s military element.

Still, there were the perennials, most notably soldiers of the Parachute Regiment trotting down in quick time in full battle gear, tableaux and marching contingents of the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force, and also a representation of the central paramilitary forces like the CRPF and the Assam Rifles.

There was, of course, the stirring martial music: “Jai Bharati”, “Galaxy Riders”, “Desh Hamara Anmol Hai”, “Vijay Bharat”, “Deshon Ka Sartaj Bharat”, “Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja” and “Assam Rifles Ka Sipahi Desh Ka Shan Badhaye”, to mention just a few.

But, in another break with tradition, the young recipients of the National Awards for Bravery came up towards the end, followed by the children’s pageant, a daredevil motorcycle display by the Corps of Signals, and a grand flypast by fighters, heavy-lift transports and helicopters of the Indian Air Force.

In between all this were the tableaux, 23 of them, representing 17 states and six central ministries, showcasing among others the government’s flagship Digital India and Swachh Bharat initiatives.

The tableaux, presenting India’s varied historical, architectural and cultural heritage, came as a welcome relief as they showcased the country’s progress in different spheres. What particularly caught the eye were floats from Goa, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal and Assam but one surely what the Central Public Works Department offers year after year – fully fabricated out of flowers and depicting a variety of themes.

Vice President Hamid Ansari, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, the three service chiefs, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, cabinet ministers, a host of dignitaries and a group of women achievers seated in a special enclosure were on hand to witness the hour-and-half-long parade.

As the event ended, the stands quickly emptied out, with many perhaps wondering what Beating Retreat ceremony on Saturday, the precision display by the massed bands of the three services which bring the Republic Day celebrations to a close, would have in store.(IANS)(Image-pib)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 NewsGram

Next Story

Tanks: 100 Years of Evolution, Book By Richard Ogorkiewicz

A chapter on development of strategic use of tanks

0
Tanks: 100 Years of Evolution, Book By Richard Ogorkiewicz
Tanks: 100 Years of Evolution, Book By Richard Ogorkiewicz, Pixabay

Their looming profile and bristling armaments make them the most easily identifiable piece of military hardware. But tanks, which represent a watershed in the age-old military technology contest between offensive and defensive capacities and mobile and static weaponry, are at their best only when their key attributes are in sync.

Their entire story, which dates from much before they first trundled on to the battlefield in World War I — as this book shows — hinges on the development and interplay of these attributes: Mobility, protection, firepower and communication.

Experts, however, differ on these attributes’ relative importance. As an anecdote goes, a tank officer recalled that, in his training, there were three modules: Driving, where they were told that immobile tanks were of no use; radio, where they were told that lack of communication made tanks useless; and gunnery, where they learnt that without firepower, tanks were essentially a 50-tonne portable radio.

But as Richard Ogorkiewicz recounts here, the development, modification and testing of these attributes not only underlines the evolution of tanks but also of human ingenuity and technology — and stubbornness to change.

Concentrating on mobility, firepower and protection, he presents a “comprehensive account of the worldwide evolution and employment of tanks from their inception to the present day”.

And while this is a story that Ogorkiewicz is well qualified to tell, as one of the foremost civilian experts on tanks, he adds a number of interesting nuggets. Say, the role of major car-makers — Rolls-Royce, Fiat, Daimler, Renault, etc., in the evolution of armoured military vehicles, and unexpected countries with roles in tanks’ history.

heavy war armour vehicle: Tank
heavy war armour vehicle: Tank, Pixabay

Also a long-time independent member of several scientific advisory committees of the British Defence Ministry, the author notes that while tanks’ military importance and general interest have led to a number of books on them (including three authoritative works by him): “There is much more to be said about them, not only because of the more recent developments or because of tanks’ worldwide proliferation but also because of the misconceptions about their origins and other developments.”

He kicks off on this mission by revisiting conventional history of self-propelled, armoured military vehicles, whose origins, we learn, go back further than we thought to the year of Napoleon’s birth (1769) — though this particular venture by a French military engineer got nowhere, nor did the brief revival of interest in the mid-19th century.

Ogorkiewicz shows how the course only began via development of armoured cars in various European armies in the early 20th century — with Italy taking an early lead here.

He then charts the development, the false starts and piecemeal attempts that marked tanks in World War I, before going on to how they faced another problem post-war, when even the victors (save France) reduced the inventories while traditionalist high commands disparaged their contribution or ruled out their independent use.

Recounting how tanks made a comeback courtesy some visionary and dedicated British military theorists — along with the mistakes the country’s military leadership made and their consequences in the next World War — he takes up developments in this field in other major powers: France, the US, Italy, the Soviet Union and Germany, as well as in Poland, Sweden and Japan.

A chapter on development of strategic use of tanks offers a thoughtful prelude to an armoured battle view of the Second World War.

Military tank
Military tank, Pixabay

Ogorkiewicz then deals with the changed battlefield after the Second World War, and how tanks survived the onslaught of hand-held — and then more sophisticated — anti-tank weapons. Apart from the five dominant tank powers — the US, the Soviet Union, Britain, France and Germany — he also takes a look at other countries which tried, including Switzerland, Israel and Argentina.

Asian countries, especially China, Pakistan and India, get their own section, in which he makes an incisive summary of Indian armoured forces’ developments, shortcomings and achievements, before offering his assessment of the future and some technical appendices.

Also read:Musk: SpaceX Set For Over 300 missions in Five Years

Though not a book for the casual reader due to its wealth of technical detail, it gives an expansive look not only at tanks, but the transforming paradigms of war-fighting, which changed from soldiers walking or riding to find and engage the enemy to long-ranging, combined-arms operations. Military buffs, this is for you. (IANS)