74th Republic Day festivities | 21-gun salute to the President: Indian field gun to replace 25-pounder from the British era

The Army’s British-era 25-pounder guns, which have traditionally offered the symbolic 21-gun salute to the President of India and the National Flag on Republic Day, will be replaced this year by the indigenous 105-mm Indian Field Guns (IFG) as part of efforts to eliminate colonial-era relics and only display indigenous equipment and weapon systems.

The British devised and manufactured “25-pounders” from World War II in the 1940s, and they were used in the 1965 and 1971 conflicts with Pakistan. The adaptable and accurate guns were decommissioned by the Army in the early 1990s and are now only used for ceremonial purposes.

In images |Preparations for Republic Day are in full swing in the nation’s capital.

“However, this year, efforts are being made to highlight all indigenous equipment, therefore the 105mm IFG will offer the 21-gun salute to the President. The ammo for the 105mm IFG is also manufactured in India, a military officer informed The Indian Express on Monday.

The 21-gun salute begins when the sword of the Commandant of the President’s Body Guards (PBG) is lowered in response to the cry of “Rashtriya Salute” and continues until the conclusion of the National Anthem. A specially constructed cartridge, generally referred to as a blank round, is used to simulate the sound of a firearm firing.

With an emphasis on self-reliance in defence, the Army said on Monday that all equipment displayed at the Republic Day parade will be indigenous.

During the 90-minute-long Republic Day parade, which will march from Vijay Chowk to the Red Fort via the Kartavya Path, the Army will be represented by Mounted Columns of 61 Cavalry consisting of 51 horses; nine Mechanised Columns consisting of three MBT Arjun MK I; one BrahMos missile; two Akash missile systems, among others; six marching contingents; and helicopters of Army Aviation as part of a 50-aircraft

According to the Army, three Param Vir Chakra and three Ashok Chakra recipients will march in this year’s parade.
The Egyptian Army will participate as a foreign contingent in the parade. President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, will be the parade’s honoured guest.

Preparations for the Republic Day parade began in September, according to a senior Army official, and the drills include rigorous practises for the contingent as well as equipment, some of which must be repainted with special paints. Since their arrival, the Egyptian contingent has also been practising, the official noted.

There will be sixteen marching contingents and twenty-three tableaux representing various states, ministries, and departments. The parade will also feature a veterans’ tableau as part of the Army’s marching contingent.

The occasion will also feature a cultural performance by 475 artists and the participation of 25 recipients of the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar. A team of “daredevils” motorbike riders from Corps of Signals, co-led by a female officer, is another feature of the parade. The BSF camel contingent will include women for the first time.

The Parade Commander will be Lt Gen Dhiraj Seth, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area, and the Second-in-Command will be Maj Gen Bhavnish Kumar, Chief of Staff, Delhi Area.

This year, there will be a total of 45,000 spectators at the Republic Day event, compared to almost one lakh in pre-Covid years. E-invitations have replaced the conventional invitation cards sent to guests and onlookers.

Monday marked the beginning of a weeklong celebration of the 74th Republic Day, which will conclude on January 30, which is Martyrs’ Day.


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