Covid pandemic casts a shadow over India's 73rd Republic day celebrations. Here's what's changed this year.

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Jan 26, 2022, 09:54 AM(IST)

Due to the rapid rise in Covid cases in Delhi and nationwide, the Defense Ministry has restricted the number of people allowed to attend the Republic Day parade on 26 January to approximately 5,000-8,000 this year.  Photograph:( ANI )

Story highlights

India's signature event will not be graced by a foreign leader this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the second year in a row

A celebration of Indian Republic Day will take place today, on January 26. This is the second such celebration amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed over 5 million people worldwide. 

It is expected that events planned on Rajpath will be as grand as they always are, even with the pandemic. Here is what has changed this year:

No foreign guests

India's signature event will not be graced by a foreign leader this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the second year in a row.

Live Republic Day parade 2022: India to showcase military might, cultural diversity at Rajpath

Despite no official announcement being made by any of the countries, India had invited the leaders of the five Central Asian countries - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - to attend.

However, recent outbreaks of the Omicron variant of Coronavirus over the past few weeks and violent protests in Kazakhstan, in which more than 220 people died, prevented Central Asian leaders from attending, according to people familiar with the matter.

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was invited to be the chief guest at the 2021 Republic Day Parade. A sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in the UK, however, forced the cancellation of the visit in the first week of January.

Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, was The last foreign guest to witness India's Republic Day parade on Rajpath in 2020.

Also read | Republic Day parade 2022: Date, importance & all you want to know

Public Attendance

Due to the rapid rise in Covid cases in Delhi and nationwide, the Defense Ministry has restricted the number of people allowed to attend the Republic Day parade on 26 January to approximately 5,000-8,000 this year. 

Attendance at this year's parade has been reduced by 70-80 per cent. In 2021, roughly 25,000 people attended the parade. 

Watch | India's Republic Day: 75 aircraft to mark 75th year of Indian independence

Covid guidelines

This year, children under the age of 15 will not be permitted to attend the function. 

As per guidelines issued by the Delhi Police, all visitors to the Republic Day parade are required to be completely vaccinated against Covid. They are also required to bring proof of vaccination with them.

Furthermore, attendees must adhere to all Covid-protocols, such as wearing a face mask and maintaining a social distance.

(With inputs from agencies)

Read in App