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

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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)

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Twitter Lite: A Data-Friendly Version of Twitter Now Available in India

The micro-blogging platform, while releasing second quarter earnings, reported $711 million in revenue -- an increase of 24 per cent year-over-year

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Twitter Lite
Data-friendly Twitter Lite now available in India. Pixabay

The micro-blogging platform has made its data-friendly Twitter Lite Android app available in 21 more countries, including India, which can be downloaded from Google Play Store.

Built for 2G and 3G networks which are still in use in several parts of India, Twitter Lite has an install size of 3MB, saves data and space and loads quickly on unreliable networks.

“While using the app on 2G or 3G, you’ll notice that content will load quickly on Twitter Lite. We want to make sure you can see what’s happening no matter what network you’re on,” Twitter said in a statement late on Monday.

Twitter Lite is now available in the Google Play Store in more than 45 countries.

After a successful trial in the Philippines, Twitter rolled out the data-friendly Lite Android app in 24 countries in December 2017.

By enabling data saver mode, users can control which images and videos load on their phones.

“You can still load all the content at any time by hitting ‘Load image’ or ‘Load video’, helping you save money and data in real time,” said Twitter.

Twitter
Twitter Lite is now available in the Google Play Store in more than 45 countries. (VOA)

The “Bookmarks” feature allows users to save important Tweets for later.

“Twitter Lite supports push notifications, allowing you to keep up with what’s happening around the world,” said the micro-blogging platform that currently has 335 million users.

The night mode feature gives timeline a darker theme — easier on eyes and to read even during the day.

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“Threaded Tweets are now available on Twitter Lite. We’ve made it easy to create a thread by adding a plus button in the composer, so you can connect your thoughts and publish your threaded Tweets all at the same time,” said the statement.

Twitter in July reported a drop of one million users in the second quarter of 2018 — with monthly active user count going down from 336 million in the last quarter to 335 million.

The micro-blogging platform, while releasing second quarter earnings, reported $711 million in revenue — an increase of 24 per cent year-over-year. (IANS)