RD-Day parade may be shorter by 20 min

The duration of this year’s Republic Day parade is expected to be cut short by 20 minutes as the government feels the annual show of India’s military might and cultural diversity is a tad too long.

While the 2015 parade took 110 minutes to conclude, this time the plan is to complete the show within 90 minutes, including the flypast. French President Francois Hollande would be the chief guest.

The Defence Ministry has decided to cut down on the number of marching contingents of the Army and seven Central armed police forces–the BSF, CISF, CRPF, ITBP, SSB, Assam Rifles and the NSG. “While there would be six marching regiments from the Army, a drop from last year’s eight regiments, the Central armed police forces would be affected the maximum,” a source said.

The Army’s dog squad, maintained by the Remount and Veterinary Corps at Meerut, would return to the Republic Day after several decades. The canines, however, will only march along with their handlers. The mechanised columns from the Army would be combined instead of having separate columns for tanks and armoured vehicles.

In another key change, the tableaux would be kept at the Red Fort for three additional days under the supervision of the Tourism Ministry to provide wider opportunity for people to have a glimpse of the artefacts prepared by the states.

The military band from the three services are likely to play at the Red Fort, creating a carnival type atmosphere. The Defence Ministry is enthused by its experience from the carnival in the India Gate a few months back to celebrate 50 years of the 1965 war with Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is slated to fly at the Bahrain international air show, marking its first flight in foreign skies.

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