A contingent of Indian Navy marches during the Republic Day parade rehearsals at Rajpath in New Delhi (PTI)
NEW DELHI: The Republic Day Parade will be of a shorter duration this year, with smaller marching contingents and fewer cultural performances as well as strict social distancing protocols in place for a reduced number of spectators on Rajpath on January 26.
The "overall traditional character" of the parade, which showcases the country's military might and cultural diversity, "will however be maintained" despite the restrictions necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic, said officials on Sunday. A contingent of the Bangladesh armed forces, incidentally, will also take part in the parade in view of the 50thanniversary celebrations of the 1971 war of liberation. UK PM Boris Johnson will be the chief guest.
"The parade will begin from Vijay Chowk, as usual, but will culminate at the National Stadium instead of ending at the Red Fort. So, it will cover a distance of 3.3 km as compared to the normal 8.2 km," said an official. Only around 25,000 spectators will be allowed to witness the parade as compared to the average of 1.3 lakh people every year. "Children below 15 years and the elderly with co-morbidities will not be permitted," said the official.