New Delhi [India], January 18 (ANI): The involvement of the Aam Aadmi (common citizens) will be the key theme and highlight of this year's Republic Day celebrations, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane said on Wednesday.
'Shramyogis' (labourers), who built the revamped Central Vista and the new Parliament building, as well as vegetable and milk vendors, would be special invitees for the Republic Day parade this year.
They will be seated in front of the main dais at the Republic Day function.
Speaking to ANI on Wednesday, the Defence Secretary said, "Also a key highlight event is the 'Parakram Diwas' (marking the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose) on January 23, which will mark the Republic Day celebrations this year."
Also, as part of the Republic Day celebrations and marking the 126th birth anniversary of Netaji, Military Tattoo and Tribal Dance performances will be staged at Delhi's Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium on January 23 and 24.
According to information from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), seating plans on 'Kartavya Path', formerly Rajpath, have been changed with the number of seats reduced to 45,000.
"Of the total seats, 32,000 will be available for online booking for the general public this year, while 10 per cent of the total seats at 'The Beating Retreat' ceremony will be open for online booking," the MoD said in a statement.
Defence Secretary Aramane added, "Our main battle tank, Arjun; Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicle; BrahMos cruise missiles; NAG anti-tank missile Akash and Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv would be showcased at the R-Day parade as part of the 'Make In India' push."
He added that an Egyptian contingent of 120 troops would also be marching at the parade this year.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will be the Chief Guest at this year's Republic Day function.
The themed Military Tattoo and Tribal Dance would aim at throwing light on the contribution of Netaji to the country's freedom struggle.
The Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs would jointly organise the event, with the Indian Coast Guard as the coordinating agency.
The initial practice sessions for the event began on January 10 and the sounds of military drums and trumpets have set the tone for the traditional dance performances, showcasing the country's unique cultural trends and fostering the spirit of 'Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat'.
Over 1,200 performers have been fine-tuning their acts during the rehearsals for the Republic Day function, with each group enlivening a slice of India with their unique and colourful costumes, headdresses, musical instruments and rhythmic dance beats.
The traditional dance performance to be presented during the main event include Gaurr Maria, Gaddi Nati, Siddi Dhamal, Baiga Pardhoni, Purulia, Bagurumba, Ghusadi, Balti, Lambadi, Paika, Rathwa, Budigali, Songimukhawate, Karma, Mangho, Ka Shad Mastieh, Kummikali, Palaiyar, Cheraw and Rekham Pada. These events and groups are being coordinated by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
The Indian Army will showcase its prowess at the event through Paramotor Gliding, Hot Air Balloon, Horse Show, Khukuri Dance, Gatka, Mallakhamb, Kalaripayattu, Thang-ta, Motorcycle Display, Air Warrior Drill, Navy Band and martial arts.
The grand finale will feature a performance by popular playback singer Kailash Kher. (ANI)