New Delhi: Much like last year, Indian Republic Day parade at Rajpath in New Delhi on January 26 will have no foreign chief guest amid a sharp surge in Covid-19 across states and Union territories.
While no official announcement of a foreign guest was ever made, preparations had been underway to bring in the leaders of five Central Asian countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- as chief guests to witness the main Republic Day celebrations.
It is learnt that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host these nations on a virual platform on January 27 as announced by the Ministry of External affairs.
In 2021, around 25,000 people were permitted to attend the Republic Day Parade in person and the duration of the event was shortened due to strict Covid-19 protocol.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was invited to be the chief guest for the 2021 Republic Day parade, but it was cancelled in the first week of January, when COVID-19 cases in the UK were shooting up.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro remains the last foreign guest to witness India’s Republic Day parade at Rajpath, in 2020.
The rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus in the past few weeks and recent violent protests in Kazakhstan, which resulted in the death of more than 220 people, were factors that went against the participation of the Central Asian leaders, people familiar with the matter said .
The military flypast at the Republic day parade will feature flying formation to commemorate some glorious moment of liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971, including the historic Tangail airdrop and the Meghna operation.
The Tangail, the biggest airborne operation mounted by Indian para-troopers and muktijodhhas in the ground set the stage for surrender by the Pakistani army. They defeated a force that was three times numerically superior and shattered the will of the Pakistani army to defend Dhaka.
The Meghna formation to commemorate a critical heli-borne operation during the 1971 war. IAF helicopters played a critical role in moving troops across Meghna river. Also the IAF tableu at the parade will display of fighter planes attacking Governor House in Dhaka and a model of the Gnat fighter that played an important part in the war.