PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India
Jan 26, 2018, 05.24 AM
Amid an unprecedented security cover, celebrations for the 69th Republic Day began on the Rajpath in New Delhi on Friday in the presence of the leaders of 10 ASEAN nations who are attending the event as chief guests.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his tributes to the martyrs by laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti in the presence of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the three service chiefs.
Later, Modi, wearing a saffron, red and green coloured safa, reached the Rajpath and received and greeted President Ram Nath Kovind.
Most of the ministers of the Modi government including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Health Minister J P Nadda, Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan were among those present on the occasion.
BJP president Amit Shah was present too.
The ASEAN leaders, here to attend the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit, are the chief guests at the Republic Day parade which was termed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "historic and unprecedented".
The ASEAN, founded in 1967, comprises Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei.
The ASEAN leaders attending the parade are Singaporean Premier Lee Hsien Loong Brunei's Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Philippines President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Thailand's Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Lao PDR's Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.
Twenty three tableaux, including those representing various states, ministries, the All India Radio (AIR) among others, will roll down the Rajpath.
The parade commenced amid a heavy security blanket with thousands of security personnel, anti-aircraft guns and sharpshooters deployed in view of the event being attended by ASEAN leaders.
Cold weather conditions and dense fog failed to dampen the spirits of those who came to watch the parade.