UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will be the chief guest.
New Delhi: A 179-member contingent of soldiers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will lead the 68th Republic Day parade on Thursday even as a colourful spectacle awaits the nation comprising Indian troops in full grandeur and martial splendour.
“Because they are guests, they will lead the parade,” said Major General Rajesh Sahai, Chief of Staff, Delhi Area, and also second-in-command of the parade.
UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will be the chief guest. The UAE is the second country after France to send its troops to participate in the Republic-Day parade of India, a tradition started last year.
Speaking to reporters, Brigadier Obaid Al-Zahumi, who will be leading the UAE contingent, said: “We got an invitation from the Indian Army some three weeks back and since then we have been busy in getting ready for the parade. We have a nice mix of soldiers from the Army, Navy and the air force.”
The Arab soldiers will lead the march after customary parade commander, his second-in-command and Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra Award winners walk past the Rajpath after paying respect to the President, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
Tableaux from 17 states and six Central ministries will be showcased in this year’s Republic Day Parade on Rajpath. The varied themes will range from the country’s rich cultural heritage and socio-economic development to the nation’s progress in key areas like IT, women, empowerment and environment protection.
Besides the marching troops, the Indian Army will showcase its T-90 and BMP tanks, two Bramhos missiles, Dhanush gun system along with Weapon Locating Radars (WLR) Swati.
Fifty-one horses of 61st Cavalry Regiment and BSF’s camel contingent will be a part of the show. Marching contingents of Mechanised Infantry, Madras Engineer Group (MEG), Bihar Regiment, 39 Gorkha Training Centre and Territorial Army will also participate in the parade, apart from contingents of Coast Guard and National Security Guard.
The home-made Tejas Light Combat Aircraft will lead an impressive IAF fleet comprising Mi17 helicopters, Sukhoi Su 30 fighter jets, Advanced Light Helicopter Rudra and military transport aircraft C-17 Globe Master.
With 2017 being declared by the Indian Navy as the ‘Year of Submarines’ the Navy tableau will feature submarines Kalvari and Khandheri besides the state-of-the art subs, the warship Chennai, mannequins of the elite Marine commandos ‘Marcos’ and a model of P-81 Long time Maritime Patrol Aircraft that also feature in the display.