Israeli diplomat extends ‘musical tribute’ on India’s 74th Republic Day; video wins internet

India celebrated its 74th Republic Day with glory and great enthusiasm on Thursday. People observed the day with great zeal and extended special wishes and messages to each other. While the celebrations would have been incomplete without the annual parade in the capital city, this year too we saw a grand event organised in Delhi. In the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar, the guest of honour – Egypt’s president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi witnessed the spectacular parade passing through the Kartavya Path. It was indeed a unique mix displaying the military might and cultural diversity of India.

In the meantime, global leaders also extended their wishes on India’s Republic Day and greeted PM Modi and his fellow countrymen. Joining in the line, the Consulate General of Israel to Midwest India, Kobbi Shoshani also paid a musical tribute on the occasion. Taking to Twitter, he shared a video of himself playing the tunes of India’s national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ on a piano.

Watch:

The 58-second clip, that is going viral on social media, shows the Israeli diplomat completely engrossed in his part in playing the national anthem and we can say he aced it. Furthermore, he ended the video by saying ‘Jai Hind India’. “In respect to the national flag of India, I tried my best to play India’s beautiful anthem, “Jana Gana Mana”. Happy Republic Day,” he wrote in his caption.

Meanwhile, the video impressed quite a lot of Indians online who took to the comment section and appreciated the diplomat’s gesture. A user wrote, “Wonderful. Thank you”, while another wrote, “Thank you sir. Very well played.”

“Jai Hind! The melodic notes of your upright piano are being felt on our hearts. Thank you for your beautiful rendition,” a user commented.

The video has so far grabbed thousands of views and likes on Twitter.

Notably, India has been celebrating its Republic Day every year on 26 January to mark the anniversary of officially adopting its Constitution.

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India issues notice to Pakistan to modify Indus Waters Treaty over adverse actions and refusal to engage in dialogue

File photo of river Indus. News18

New Delhi: India issued notice to Pakistan for modifications in the Indus Waters Treaty on 25 January, according to the news agency ANI.

According to the agency, Pakistan’s actions have adversely affected the provisions of the bilateral treaty and their implementation. As a result of Pakistan’s actions India, the agency reports, was ‘forced’ to ask Pakistan for making modifications to the treaty signed between the two countries in 1960.

Pakistan repeatedly insisted the World Bank to initiate actions on the Neutral Expert and the Court of Arbitration processes meant to resolve the issues emerging out of the use of water from the river Indus and its tributaries.

However, there are no provisions for such parallel consideration in the treaty, which gives India control over the three eastern rivers of the Indus system; Beas, Ravi and Sutlej and Pakistan the control over the three western rivers; Indus, Chenab, and Jhelum, which carry most of the water of the river system.

India repeatedly tried to engage Pakistan to find a mutually agreeable way, but the western neighbour refused to discuss the issue in five meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission from 2017-2022.

The notice gives Pakistan 90 days to enter intergovernmental negotiations to rectify its actions that breach the treaty. Also, the process will update the treaty to incorporate the lessons learned over the course of time.

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In a first, Anand Mahindra buys fruit using India’s digital currency ‘e-rupee’; shows how it works

The Reserve Bank of India launched the pilot program for its first digital currency, the ‘e-rupee,’ on 1 December, 2022. ‘e-R’ is a digital token representing legal tender in India. Moneycontrol.

New Delhi: Business tycoon Anand Mahindra recently used India’s digital currency- the ‘e-rupee’ or ‘e-R,’ to buy fresh fruit from a local vendor. The Mahindra & Mahindra chief then went on to share a video showing “how it works” on microblogging site Twitter.

The industrialist bought pomegranates from the vendor and settled the payment with digital money. He also informed that Bachche Lal Sahani, a local fruit seller, happened to be one of the first merchants to accept ‘e-rupee’ transactions.

Captioning the video, Anand Mahindra wrote that he learned about the digital currency, ‘e-rupee,’ at the Reserve Bank of India’s board meeting. To test it, the industrialist visited a local fruit seller, soon after he left RBI’s meeting.

The Mahindra & Mahindra chief captured the whole process of buying fruit using the e-money payment system–a first of sorts. Later, he shared the video on Twitter to inform and show people on ‘how to use ‘e-rupee’ for everyday monetary transactions. The businessman also added a hashtag giving a shoutout to ‘Digital India’ in his post. Needless to say, the video soon went viral after its release on the social media platform.

What is RBI’s ‘e-rupee’?

The Reserve Bank of India launched the pilot program for its first digital currency, the ‘e-rupee,’ on 1 December, 2022. ‘e-R’ is a digital token representing legal tender in India. It is also denoted as ‘e-INR’ or ‘e-Rupee.’

The central bank will roll out the e-money in the same denominations as the current paper currency notes and coins. The retail ‘e-rupee’ transactions will be channelized through a digital wallet accessible on mobile phones and other devices.

Currently, digital money is being distributed through banking institutions. Owners can easily use ‘e-rupee’ for P2P and P2M transactions. They can also use QR codes displayed at supported merchant junctions to make safe payments to them.

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What is the ‘halwa ceremony’ India’s finance ministers perform every year before annual budget is locked-in?

Nirmala Sitharaman. PTI

New Delhi: The Halwa ceremony, marking the final stage of the Budget preparation process for Union Budget 2023-24, was held in North Block, today afternoon, in the presence of Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Ministers of State for Finance Shri Pankaj Chaudhary and Dr. Bhagwat Kisanrao Karad.

A customary Halwa ceremony is performed every year before the “lock-in” process of Budget preparation begins.

Like the previous two Union Budgets, Union Budget 2023-24 will also be delivered in paperless form. The Union Budget 2023-24 is to be presented on 1 February 2023.

All the 14 Union Budget documents, including the Annual Financial Statement (commonly known as Budget), Demand for Grants (DG), Finance Bill etc. as prescribed by the Constitution, will available on the “Union Budget Mobile App” for hassle-free access of Budget documents by Members of Parliament (MPs) and the general public using the simplest form of digital convenience. It is bilingual (English & Hindi) and will be available on both Android and iOS platforms.

At the Halwa Ceremony, the Union Finance Minister was also accompanied by Dr TV Somanathan, Finance Secretary & Secretary Expenditure; Shri Ajay Seth, Secretary, Economic Affairs; Shri Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary, DIPAM; Shri Sanjay Malhotra, Secretary, Revenue; Dr Anantha V. Nageswaran, Chief Economic Advisor; Shri Nitin Gupta, Chairman, Central Board for Direct taxes (CBDT); Shri Vivek Johri, Chairman, Central Board for Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC); and Shri Ashish Vachhani, Additional Secretary (Budget), besides others officers and staff of the Ministry of Finance, involved in the Budget preparation and compilation process, were also present on the occasion.

As part of the ceremony, the Finance Minister also took a tour of the Budget Press and reviewed the preparations besides extending her best wishes to the officials concerned.

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BrahMos, MBT Arjun, and more: How India exhibited its indigenous might on 2023 Republic Day

Akash is state-of-the-art indigenous surface-to-air missile system. PTI (Representational Image)

India’s military might was on display during the 74th Republic Day on Thursday (26 January) as the country flaunted its high-tech indigenous weapons.

The indigenous 105-mm Indian Field Guns (IFG) gave the 21-gun salute to President Droupadi Murmu, replacing the British-made 25-pounder guns.

Murmu and her Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi were welcomed at the Kartavya Path, previously known as Rajpath, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Along with many firsts, this was the maiden time that an Egyptian president was invited as chief guest for Republic Day celebrations.

Let’s look at how made-in-India weapons shined at this year’s Republic Day parade.

Nag Missile System (NAMIS)

NAG Missile System, popularly known as NAMIS, is a tank destroyer designed by Defence Research & Development Laboratory in Hyderabad.

Developed for the Recce and Support units of the mechanised infantry, the Nag missile is a ‘fire and forget’ anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) with a range of five km, reported news agency ANI.

The missile system comprises a tracked armoured fighting vehicle and has a crew-less turret that can fire six anti-tank guided missiles.

MBT Arjun

Developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun has a 120 mm main rifled gun.

Powered by a 1400 HP diesel engine, it has a speed of up to 70 km/h (43 mph).

The third-generation main battle tank also features a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun and a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun, as per ANI.

Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicle (QRFV)

Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicle is an indigenous combat vehicle manufactured by TATA Advance System and Bharat Forge Limited.

Its 360-degree turret can mount a 7.62mm medium machine gun.

The 4×4 wheeled armoured platform is designed to carry 10 fully armed forces, as per ANI.

The vehicle, with a maximum speed of 80 km/h, is ideally suitable for operations in Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

BMP-2 Sarath

These infantry combat vehicles (ICV) can effectively manoeuvre in various terrains such as deserts and mountainous or high-altitude areas.

As per Indian Ordnance Factories website, BMP-2 Sarath is a “truly amphibian vehicle which can travel at seven km/h on water and can overcome slopes up to 35 degrees”.

K-9 Vajra-T (SP)

K9 Vajra-T is a 155 mm, 52-calibre tracked self-propelled howitzer.

Weighing 50 tonnes, it can target an enemy that is even 50 kilometres away.

Built by Armoured Systems Complex of Larsen and Toubro (L&T), the howitzer has a speed of up to 60 km/hr over arid desert terrain.

It is protected by welded steel armour, while its design includes Modular Azimuth Position System (MAPS) and Automatic Fire Control System, reported ANI.

BrahMos

The detachment of BrahMos of the 861 Missile Regiment was led by Lieutenant Prajjwal Kala in the Republic Day parade.

It is a supersonic cruise missile and can attack targets in the sea 400 km away.

The high-precision missile can be launched from air, land, and sea platforms.

BrahMos Aerospace, an India-Russian joint venture, makes these supersonic cruise missiles.

It flies at a speed of 2.8 Mach or nearly three times the speed of sound.

Akash weapon system

The state-of-the-art indigenous surface-to-air missile system has been configured on mobile platforms.

The newly inducted weapon system is manufactured and designed by Bharat Dynamics and DRDO.

Mobile Microwave Node & Mobile Network Centre

Indian Army’s Mobile Microwave Node can carry out “high-speed operational communications” to tactical battle areas, as per ANI.

Mounted on a high mobility vehicle platform, the Node can operate on “optical, microwave and satellite media to provide triple play services to include voice, data and video to field formations in active hostilities,” says the news agency.

The next-generation network vehicle – Mobile Network Centre – is capable of enhancing “battlefield transparency” and ramping up situational awareness, ANI reported.

10m Short Span Bridge

The 10m Short Span Bridge is a mechanically launched Assault Bridge.

Designed and developed by DRDO, the Short Span Bridging System (SSBS)-10 is key in “bridging the gaps up to 9.5m as a single span providing a four metre wide, fully decked roadway, ensuring faster movement of the troops”, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement in 2021.

Wheeled Armoured Platform

Wheeled Armoured Platform (WhAP), a modular 8X8 wheeled combat platform, was on exhibit at this year’s Republic Day parade.

The state-of-the-art customisable platform carried a specialist 70-tonne trailer at the event.

WhAP, which has been built for multiple roles, can be used as a Wheeled Infantry Combat Vehicle, CBRN Vehicle, ATGM carrier and so on, the defence ministry said in a statement.

“The Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) variant on display is integrated with a 30mm turret, composite armour and innovative blast protection. This amphibious vehicle can negotiate water obstacles with a max speed of 100 km/h on road,” Press Information NBureau (PIB) quoted the defence ministry as saying.

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) tableau showcased Light Combat Helicopter ‘Prachand’, Light Combat Aircraft Tejas MK-II, Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft NETRA and C-295 Transport aircraft.

The Indian Navy also displayed the models of the indigenously-developed Nilgiri class ship with a Dhruv helicopter, Kalvari class submarines and autonomous unmanned systems, as per Indian Express.

With inputs from agencies

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Republic Day: CRPF officer sets record, wins 8th gallantry medal

CRPF officer Prakash Ranjan Mishra has been decorated with a gallantry medal for the eighth time, making him the highest recipient of bravery medals among the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) Image Courtesy Agencies

New Delhi: Since India regained independence in 1947, Indian soldiers across all sections of the armed forces have come up with innumerable instances of awe inspiring bravery while fighting for the nation.

However, an officer currently serving in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has achieved such an extraordinary feat that it will be difficult for any soldier from around the world to match up to.

CRPF officer Prakash Ranjan Mishra has been decorated with a gallantry medal for the eighth time, making him the highest recipient of bravery medals among the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), a government order said on Wednesday.

Mishra, 49, holds the rank of second-in-command (equivalent to superintendent of police), and he, along with four of his colleagues, has been awarded the police medal for bravery (PMG) for displaying “exemplary courage” in an anti-Naxal operation in Jharkhand’s Khunti district on December 20, 2020.

The PMG was announced by the Union Home Ministry on the occasion of the 74th Republic Day, being celebrated on January 26 (Thursday).

A regional commander of the Maoists, who had 152 police cases against him, was killed in this operation, according to officials.

The four others who were awarded the PMG along with Mishra include Assistant Commandant Prahald Sahay Choudhary, Constables Raju Kumar, Yogendra Kumar and Sushil Kumar Chachi, the order said.This is Choudhary’s fourth gallantry medal.

Mishra, a commando trained officer, joined the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) as a Sub-Inspector in 1997 and later qualified as an officer (Assistant Commandant) in 2002. He also served as an Additional SP on deputation with the Jharkhand Police.

He is currently posted with the 94th CRPF battalion in Khunti.

The officer has served virtually all his tenure in hard areas including anti-Naxal operations stints in Jharkhand, Sukma district in Chhattisgarh’s extreme Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected Bastar division and counter-insurgency duties in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mishra was awarded the first PMG in 2009, twice in 2011, again in 2013 and 2015, the top police bravery medal — President’s Police Medal for Gallantry — in 2012, the military ‘Shaurya Chakra’ in 2013 apart from 13 commendation discs for operations by the CRPF Director General (DG) and seven by the Jharkhand DGP.

Mishra has the highest individual gallantry medals in the CRPF and among the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) like the BSF, ITBP, SSB and CISF, a senior CAPF officer told PTI.

The officer made headlines in 2012 after being shot in a Naxal operation in Jharkhand and his blood-soaked photographs were published across various newspapers and portals.

After this near-fatal incident, he was in the hospital for about two months and soon got back to his favourite job — counter-insurgency and jungle warfare operations.

Mishra is closely preceded in the force by 37-year-old CRPF Assistant Commandant Naresh Kumar who has received seven gallantry medals for undertaking daring operations in the Kashmir valley, being part of the elite quick action team (QAT) of the force.

Former Delhi Police (special cell) officer Sanjeev Kumar Yadav has got 11 gallantry medals till now.

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Republic Day: CRPF officer sets record, wins 8th gallantry medal

New Delhi: Since India regained independence in 1947, Indian soldiers across all sections of the armed forces have come up with innumerable instances of awe inspiring bravery while fighting for the nation.

However, an officer currently serving in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has achieved such an extraordinary feat that it will be difficult for any soldier from around the world to match up to.

CRPF officer Prakash Ranjan Mishra has been decorated with a gallantry medal for the eighth time, making him the highest recipient of bravery medals among the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), a government order said on Wednesday.

Mishra, 49, holds the rank of second-in-command (equivalent to superintendent of police), and he, along with four of his colleagues, has been awarded the police medal for bravery (PMG) for displaying “exemplary courage” in an anti-Naxal operation in Jharkhand’s Khunti district on December 20, 2020.

The PMG was announced by the Union Home Ministry on the occasion of the 74th Republic Day, being celebrated on January 26 (Thursday).

A regional commander of the Maoists, who had 152 police cases against him, was killed in this operation, according to officials.

The four others who were awarded the PMG along with Mishra include Assistant Commandant Prahald Sahay Choudhary, Constables Raju Kumar, Yogendra Kumar and Sushil Kumar Chachi, the order said.This is Choudhary’s fourth gallantry medal.

Mishra, a commando trained officer, joined the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) as a Sub-Inspector in 1997 and later qualified as an officer (Assistant Commandant) in 2002. He also served as an Additional SP on deputation with the Jharkhand Police.

He is currently posted with the 94th CRPF battalion in Khunti.

The officer has served virtually all his tenure in hard areas including anti-Naxal operations stints in Jharkhand, Sukma district in Chhattisgarh’s extreme Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected Bastar division and counter-insurgency duties in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mishra was awarded the first PMG in 2009, twice in 2011, again in 2013 and 2015, the top police bravery medal — President’s Police Medal for Gallantry — in 2012, the military ‘Shaurya Chakra’ in 2013 apart from 13 commendation discs for operations by the CRPF Director General (DG) and seven by the Jharkhand DGP.

Mishra has the highest individual gallantry medals in the CRPF and among the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) like the BSF, ITBP, SSB and CISF, a senior CAPF officer told PTI.

The officer made headlines in 2012 after being shot in a Naxal operation in Jharkhand and his blood-soaked photographs were published across various newspapers and portals.

After this near-fatal incident, he was in the hospital for about two months and soon got back to his favourite job — counter-insurgency and jungle warfare operations.

Mishra is closely preceded in the force by 37-year-old CRPF Assistant Commandant Naresh Kumar who has received seven gallantry medals for undertaking daring operations in the Kashmir valley, being part of the elite quick action team (QAT) of the force.

Former Delhi Police (special cell) officer Sanjeev Kumar Yadav has got 11 gallantry medals till now.

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74th Republic Day parade displays India’s military prowess, cultural diversity

Representational Image. ANI

New Delhi: The 74th Republic Day parade displayed the military strength and cultural diversity from the revamped Kartavya Path in Delhi, for the first time on Thursday.

The Republic Day parade highlighted India’s military prowess & cultural diversity, depicting the country’s growing indigenous capabilities, Nari Shakti and emergence of a ‘New India’.

The parade started with Parade Commander, Lieutenant General Dhiraj Seth, a recipient of Ati Vishisth Seva Medal, marching down the Kartavya Path, followed by the Parade Second-in-Command, Major General Bhavnish Kumar.

The first contingent in the uniform of the 61 Cavalry were led by Captain Raizada Shaurya Bali. With the amalgamation of all the “State Horse Units,” the 61 Cavalry is the only serving active horse cavalry regiment in the world.

This year, only Made-in-India weapon systems will be showcased at the Republic Day parade, which included ammunition showcasing India’s indigenization power such as 21 Gun Salute through ‘Made in India’ 105 mm Indian Field Guns, recently inducted LCH Prachand, the K-9 Vajra howitzers, MBT Arjun, Nag anti-tank guided missiles, Akash air defence missiles, and the Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicles.

During the parade 21 Gun Salute were given to President Droupadi Murmu with 105 mm Indian Field Guns on Kartavya Path replacing the British-made 25-pounder guns.

Tableaux from 17 states and Union Territories, and six from various ministries and departments depicting the nation’s rich cultural heritage, economic progress, women’s empowerment, and strong internal and external security rolled down the Kartavya Path.

“Nari shakti” and women empowerment dominated the theme of tableaux of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Tripura at the Republic Day parade.

The Indian Navy contingent comprised of 144 young sailors, led by Lt Cdr Disha Amrith as Contingent Commander. For the first time ever, the marching contingent consisted of three women and six Agniveers.

Cultural performances were presented by 479 artists chosen through the nationwide Vande Bharatam dance competition will add colour and groove to the Republic Day parade. The theme of the cultural extravaganza will be ‘Nari Shakti’ presented by 326 female dancers, ably supported by 153 male dancers, of the age group 17-30 years.

Another highlight of the show was thrilling motorcycle display by the Corps of Signals’ Dare Devils team.

The grand finale and the most eagerly-awaited segment of the parade, the Fly Past, witnessed a breathtaking air show by 45 aircraft of the Indian Air Force, one from the Indian Navy and four helicopters of the Indian Army. Vintage, as well as current modern aircraft/helicopters like Rafale, MiG-29, Su-30, Su-30 MkI Jaguar, C-130, C-17, Dornier, Dakota, LCH Prachand, Apache, Sarang& AEW&C, roar in the skies above Kartavya Path, displaying different formations, including Baaz, Prachand, Tiranga, Tangail, Vajrang, Garud, Bheem, Amrit and Trishul.

The concluding Vertical Charlie maneuver was performed by Rafale fighter aircraft.

Republic Day is being celebrated across the country with great fervour. On this day, 74 years back, India officially adopted its Constitution following its Independence from British rule.

With inputs from agencies

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Republic Day 2023 Live Updates: 74th Republic Day parade at Kartavya Path concludes

Republic Day 2023 Live Updates

74th Republic Day parade highlights ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’

The grand parade of Republic Day 2023 at Kartavya Path was special for India as the participants gave a push to the theme of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ by showcasing indigenously developed weapon systems.

This year, only Made-in-India weapon systems were showcased at the Republic Day parade, which included ammunition showcasing India’s indigenization power such as 21 Gun Salute through ‘Made in India’ 105 mm Indian Field Guns, recently inducted LCH Prachand, the K-9 Vajra howitzers, MBT Arjun, Nag anti-tank guided missiles, Akash air defence missiles, and the Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicles.(ANI)

Republic Day 2023 Live Updates

Embassy of India in Dushanbe celebrates its 74th Republic Day with unfurling of Tiranga

Embassy of India in Dushanbe celebrates its 74th #RepublicDay with unfurling of the Tiranga by Ambassador Viraj Singh and the singing of the National Anthem by Indian diaspora present on the occasion.

(Pics – Embassy of India in Dushanbe, Tajikistan) pic.twitter.com/tE9u9YbQlw

— ANI (@ANI)

January 26, 2023

Republic Day 2023 Live Updates

PM Modi dons multi-colored Rajasthani turban to symbolize India’s diverse culture

On the occasion of India’s 74th Republic Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, known for celebrating the diverse culture of the country with his sartorial choices, donned a multi-coloured Rajasthani turban this year to symbolize India’s diversity (ANI)

Republic Day 2023 Live Updates

President Murmu, Chief Guest, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El -Sisi depart from Kartavya Path to Rashtrapati Bhavan

Delhi Escorted by President’s Bodyguard, President Droupadi Murmu and #RepublicDayParade Chief Guest, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El -Sisi depart from Kartavya Path to Rashtrapati Bhavan. pic.twitter.com/0LOwtdDX0J

— ANI (@ANI)

January 26, 2023

Republic Day 2023 Live Updates

With National Anthem,74th Republic Day parade at Kartavya Path concludes

Delhi

Explained: How India shed colonial past at Republic Day parade through its gun salute

The Army’s British-era 25-pounder guns, which traditionally offered the symbolic 21-gun salute to the President and the national flag on Republic Day, were replaced by homemade 105-mm Indian Field Guns this year. ANI

This Republic Day parade is a spectacle unlike any other. It is the first time that tanks, weaponry and soldiers will march down Kartavya Path — the new name for the ceremonial boulevard Rajpath.

It is also the first time that the 21-gun salute accorded to the President prior to the beginning of the parade is given by Indian guns, rather than British guns — as an attempt by the government to step away from the vestiges of the colonial era.

Chief of Staff Delhi Area Maj Gen Bhavnish Kumar said the move was taken in accordance with the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ push. “We are transitioning towards indigenisation and the time is not far when all are equipment will be ‘swadeshi’. All equipment from the Army that will be showcased during the 74th Republic Day celebrations is made-in-India.”

Let’s take a closer look at the Indian guns which will replace the British ones and the history of the 21-gun salute itself.

The guns used

Before today, the 21-gun salute was accorded by the World War II vintage ’25-pounders designed and made in the 1940s by the British. The howitzer was introduced into the British forces right before World War II and remained as the British Army’s primary artillery field piece well into the 1960s.

The guns were put into use by India in the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan. The guns acquired popularity among the Indian forces for their ability to be used in extreme weather conditions and barely stall. They were considered versatile and accurate and were well-regarded by the Indian Army. They were decommissioned only in the early 1990s and since then used for ceremonial purposes such as the 21-gun salute on Republic Day and Independence Day.

However, this R-Day, the Centre announced that the 105 mm Indian field guns (IFG) would replace the ’25 pounders.

The 105 mm Indian field guns are compact and light and a good replacement for the British ’25 pounders. File image/AFP

These guns have been designed and developed by the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) in 1972 and have been produced at the Gun Carriage Factory (GCF), Jabalpur, since 1984. Talking about the IFG, Maj Gen Kumar said that they were compact, light and could also be airdropped.

“Since the 105 mm Indian Field Gun is an indigenised gun, so we want to use this to replace the 25-pounder guns used earlier for the 21-gun salute. And, it is a matter of pride that we are showcasing our indigenous gun for this too,” added Maj Gen Kumar.

Also read: Navy’s IL 38 in R-Day flypast for first and last time: All about Soviet-made aircraft

The gun salute explained

At the Republic Day parade, the 21-gun salute begins when the sword of the Commandant of President’s Body Guards (PBG) comes down at the shout of ‘Rashtriya Salute’ for the President and is carried out through the duration the National Anthem is played.

The tradition, the highest honour given to an individual, has been adopted from the British. In fact, all the Commonwealth nations adopted this tradition from the British Empire.

But how did the tradition come into being in the first place?

The 21-gun salute tradition, the highest honour given to an individual, has been adopted from the British. File image/AFP

This highest honour traces its roots back to the 14th Century and has evolved since. According to the Arlington National Cemetery website, it was a naval custom that when a warship wanted to signal it wasn’t seeking a confrontation it would fire its cannons out to sea until all ammunition was spent.

The website added that the British navy developed the custom of a seven-gun salute because its ships typically had seven guns. And maybe the number seven also has Biblical significance. Since forts were on land they could store greater amounts of gunpowder so they could only fire three rounds for every one fired at sea. The number 21 became the worldwide benchmark.

As gunpowder improved over time naval honours likewise rose to 21.

India’s tryst with the 21-gun salute

Today, in a 21-gun salute, seven artillery guns are fired in three rounds at intervals of 2.25 seconds, covering the 52-second duration of the national anthem.

However, it was not always the case.

The gun salute in India was first instituted during the time of the East India Company in the late 18th Century and continued under direct Crown rule from 1858. During the durbar of 1877, the Viceroy, on the advice of the British government, issued a new order through which the gun salute for the British monarch was fixed at 101, 31 for the Viceroy of India and Indian rulers — based on their hierarchies — would be accorded 21-, 19-, 17-, 15-, 11- and 9-gun salutes.

Interestingly, when Dr Rajendra Prasad became India’s first president of India in 1950 and he drove down Rajpath in his gold buggy on 26 January, he was accorded a 31-gun salute.

Besides Republic Day, a 21-gun salute is given during Independence Day, Army Day, Martyrs’ Day and for welcoming head of states of other countries at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Image Courtesy: @DDNews/Twitter

However, the 21-gun salute became the norm in India and since then it has been in practice.

Today, receiving a 21-gun salute is the highest honour. Every new President is honoured with this after their swearing-in ceremony as well as on Republic Day.

Besides Republic Day, a 21-gun salute is given on Independence Day — 15 August, Army Day — 15 January, Martyrs’ Day — 30 January and for welcoming heads of state of other countries at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

With inputs from agencies

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