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Opinion

The Republic Day parade will be shorter, with fewer spectators due to Covid-19 protocols

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Fewer people will be allowed to witness the Republic Day parade on Rajpath, and the government will follow strict social distancing protocols due to the Covid-19 pandemic, people familiar with the events said Wednesday. The parade itself will be shorter, with smaller marching contingents compared to previous years, the people said.

No more than 25,000 spectators will be allowed on Rajpath this year, compared to the more than 100,000 people who usually show up for the parade that showcases India’s military might and cultural diversity, the people cited above said. Children under the age of 15 will not be allowed in the parade.

The size of the contingents of the armed forces and paramilitaries on the march will also be smaller. These squads will only have 96 participants compared to 144 in the regular course, authorities said. The shortened parade route will see it end at the National Stadium instead of the Red Fort, officials said, adding that the number of cultural programs will also be less.

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Independence Day celebrations were also muted due to this year’s pandemic, with fewer personalities attending the August 15 event at Delhi’s Red Fort, while schoolchildren skipped it altogether.

The 2020 Republic Day parade featured several novelties. For the first time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid a wreath at the National War Memorial. Until 2019, tributes were paid to the martyrs at the Amar Jawan Jyoti in India Gate. In addition, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) displayed its anti-satellite weapon for the first time.

Jammu and Kashmir participated in the parade for the first time as a Union Territory. His painting was based on the theme “Return to town.” In August 2019, the government revoked the state’s special status by removing Article 370 of the Constitution and forked J&K into two Union territories: J&K and Ladakh.

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