Monday, January 26, 2009
India's 60th Republic Day
India's 60th Republic Day celebrations began here this morning with Defense Minister A.K.
Antony paying homage to the heroes at the India Gate war memorial. Antony was standing in for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is recuperating from heart surgery. This is the first time that a prime minister has been forced to skip a Republic Day parade, according to the Indo-Asian News Service.
India President Pratibha Patil saluted the marching contingents, accompanied by visiting Kazakhsthan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the chief guest on the occasion.
Patil conferred 11 posthumous Ashok Chakras, the nation's highest gallantry award in peacetime, on security personnel who died fighting terrorists in India controlled Kashmir district, Mumbai and New Delhi.
The parade began with a contingent of the 61st Cavalry. Overhead, four Mi-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force in a formation, showered rose petals on the hundreds of spectators.
Following them were contingents of the three armed forces and the paramilitary forces.
The Republic Day of India is a national holiday of India to mark the adoption of the Constitution of India and the transition of India from a British dominion to a republic on Jan. 26, 1950.