Republic Day Parade To Be Muted Affair in Light of COVID Pandemic

The Parade this year will be smaller, with fewer spectators and no foreign dignitary as chief guest.

2 min read
Camel-mounted Indian Border Security Force soldiers march past Rajpath, the ceremonial boulevard, during Republic Day parade in New Delhi. Image used for representational purposes.

The annual Republic Day Parade in the national capital is set to be smaller in scale this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Parade duration will be shorter, with fewer contingents and cultural performances and also fewer spectators. Social distancing protocols will also be in place. This is also the first Republic Day Parade since 1996 in which no foreign dignitary will be present.

A contingent of the Bangladesh armed forces will, however, participate in the parade to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.

This year, the Parade will cover a distance of 3.3 km as opposed to usual 8.2 km, reported The Times of India. Only 25,000 people will be allowed as opposed to the usual 1.3 lakh.

Additionally, children below 15 years and those with comorbidities will not be allowed to come for the Parade.

UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who was invited for the Parade, cancelled his visit in light of the new strain of coronavirus in the country following which the nation has gone under a second phase of lockdown.

Johnson called Prime Minister Modi to express his regret for not making it to the celebrations.

“In light of the national lockdown announced last night, and the speed at which the new coronavirus variant is spreading, the Prime Minister said that it was important for him to remain in the UK so he can focus on the domestic response to the virus," a statement from 10 Downing Street said.

In response, PM Modi “expressed his understanding of the exceptional situation in the UK, and conveyed his best wishes for the quick control of the pandemic spread. He looked forward to receiving Prime Minister Johnson in India at the earliest opportunity after normalisation of the situation," said a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

“They reiterated their shared belief in the potential of the India-UK partnership in the post-BREXIT, post-Covid context, and agreed to work towards a comprehensive roadmap for realising this potential," the MEA statement added.

Johnson, however, said that he's looking forward to visit India in the first half of 2021, ahead of the G7 Summit in the UK, which PM Modi is scheduled to attend.

(With inputs from Times of India)

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