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

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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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Coca-Cola plans to break into Indian ‘fruit circular economy’

According to Krishnakumar, Coca-Cola India with its focus on the 'fruit circular economy' will enable the growth in demand for fruits which in turn would improve the farm practices and increase the farmer income

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The company is also planning to launch vegetable-based beverage like carrot juice.
The company is also planning to launch vegetable-based beverage like carrot juice. Wikimedia Commons
  • Coca-Cola is also planning to launch vegetable-based beverage like carrot juice
  • The company plans to launch fruit juices based on the regional preferences
  • The company’s focus on fruit beverages is in line with its philosophy of ‘beverage for life’

Expanding its fruit-based beverage offerings, frozen fruit dessert, getting into dairy based value-added products and also exporting those products developed in India, are some of the plans of Coca-Cola India Pvt Ltd, said a top company official.

He said the company’s focus will be on ‘fruit circular economy’– enabling farmers to increase their yield, source pulp and launch fruit-based products.

The company is also planning to launch vegetable-based beverage like carrot juice.

“We are in the process of developing different fruit beverages including based on regional fruits and would soon be launching them.

“Similarly we will also expand our portfolio of fruit flavoured sparkling drinks like Fanta.

Also Read: Tune into a healthy lifestyle with these natural sweeteners

“After successful piloting of our frozen fruit dessert in Bengaluru, we will launch the product in major cities this April,” T. Krishnamukar, President, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia told select media here late on Thursday.

He said the company plans to launch fruit juices based on the regional preferences. For instance, the company would launch mango juices based on mango varieties that are available and popular in a particular region so that there is also a local connect.

Presently the Coca-Cola group is a $21 billion brand.
Presently the Coca-Cola group is a $21 billion brand. Wikimedia Common

“We are also working on a product based on gooseberries,” he added.

According to him, the company has tied up with Jain Irrigation that operates fruit pulping plants in different regions.

“We have tied up with Jain Irrigation for sourcing and pulping mango fruit. Similarly, we have a tie-up with that company for oranges in Maharashtra.

“We expect Jain Irrigation may start setting up an orange pulping plant and the first commercial orange pulp may be available sometime in 2020,” Krishnakumar added.

Also Read: Prepare these Amazing Cocktails for a tipsy Winter

He said the company’s focus on fruit beverages is in line with its philosophy of ‘beverage for life’ meaning to have a product for people in different age groups.

“The philosophy now is to make the company bigger than the Coca-Cola brand.

Presently the Coca-Cola group is a $21 billion brand,” he said.

According to Krishnakumar, Coca-Cola India with its focus on the ‘fruit circular economy’ will enable the growth in demand for fruits which in turn would improve the farm practices and increase the farmer income.

the company would launch mango juices based on mango varieties that are available and popular in a particular region so that there is also a local connect.
the company would launch mango juices based on mango varieties that are available and popular in a particular region so that there is also a local connect. Wikimedia Commons

“We felt we should be more relevant to the local community. Tastes, views vary based on regions. So we have to move globally to local and local to global,” he said.

The company will launch the local fruit beverages-including the mango beverage- under the Minute Maid brand.

“The fruit pulp content will be between 10 percent to 25 percent in such drinks,” Krishnakumar added.

He said the research and development (R&D) work for new products is being done in India and also in Shanghai in China.

Speaking of exports, he said the company has started exporting Indian brands like the carbonated drink ThumsUp and masala soda RimZim to Bangladesh and later to Sri Lanka, Bhutan and other markets.

Also Read: Five Benefits of Honey and Lemon Drink that Can’t be Ignored

“We want to build on Indian brand as a billion dollar beverage brand. We are not shipping the end product but the formula, brand and related matters,” he said.

Speaking of the sugar content in the company’s beverages, Krishnakumar said work in on to reduce the sugar content in its drinks and in five years time the beverages sold by the company will have far less sugar content than what it currently has.

On the foray into the dairy products segment, Krishnakumar said during the second half of the current year the company would launch the value-added dairy product. (IANS)