India on 70th Republic Day is all about women power: Key points

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Republic Day 2019 will display the power of women with  an all-women Assam Rifles contingent
Republic Day 2019 will display the power of women with an all-women Assam Rifles contingent

New Delhi : India is celebrating the 70th Republic Day today. This year, the world will see the power of Indian women on the parade ground of New Delhi. The Republic day parade begins with the laying of a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is the chief guest of the grand event.  Twenty-two tableaux of states and central government departments, and performances by school children are taking part in the 90-minute parade. Also, the programme list includes an eclectic mix of folk dances, music and drama, spiced up with modern and traditional looks. 

Here're the 10 important points about Republic Day 2019, you can't afford to miss:

1) In his address to the nation on the eve of the 70th Republic Day, President Ram Nath Kovind said "India's pluralism is its greatest strength and the 'Indian model' rests on a tripod of diversity, democracy and development". He also backed the 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections among upper castes, saying it is "another step towards an India of Mahatma Gandhi's dreams". The Bill was passed in both the houses earlier this month.

2) Chief guest Cyril Ramaphosa will be accompanied by first lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe and a high-level delegation, including nine ministers, senior officials and a 50-member business contingent, who are all on a two-day India visit. This will be Mr Ramaphosa's first India tour as the head of the state. Fifty-eight tribal guests from various parts of the country are also in the national capital for the celebrations.

3) The Republic Day 2019 will display the power of women with  an all-women Assam Rifles contingent in the lead and a woman officer performing bike stunts on Rajpath. Contingents of the Navy, Army Services Corps and a unit of Corps of Signals will all be led by women officers.

4) Four Indian National Army (INA) veterans, all aged over 90 years, will also participate in this year's Republic Day parade for the first time. Among the other highlights will be the artillery gun system M777 American Ultra-Light Howitzers, the Main Battle Tank (MBT) T-90 and the Made-in-India Akash Weapon System

5) This year also marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi who had a special connection with South Africa. The Railways, after a gap of three years, will be showcasing its tableau that will describe the "transformation of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to Mahatma Gandhi".

6) The tableau will highlight the incident in 1893, when a young Mohandas was thrown out of a "European-only" compartment at Pietermaritzburg railway station in South Africa which acted as a catalyst for him to practise ''Satyagrah''. The tableau will also introduce the soon-to-be-launched engineless Train 18.

7) The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, that took place on Baisakhi day in 1919, will be the theme of the Punjab tableau. It will be the third time in a row that Punjab is participating in the Republic Day parade.

8) Two alleged Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) members were arrested on charges of planning terror strikes in the national capital during Republic Day celebrations, Delhi Police officials said on Thursday. Thousands of police personnel have been deployed in the city.

9) Over 400 metal detectors have been installed at all exit and entry points at the venue. Thirty face-recognition cameras will keep vigil at 30 key points. "If any person with a criminal record tries to enter the premises, he would be recognised and nabbed," Delhi Police PRO Madhur Verma said.

10) The Delhi Metro trains will be partially restricted on Saturday as part of the security arrangements, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation said. The entry and exit points at Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan Metro stations will remain closed between 6 am and 12 noon. The Patel Chowk and Lok Kalyan Marg Metro stations will remain closed from 8.45 am to 12 pm.