New Delhi, Jan 26: India celebrated its 68th Republic Day with a massive display of military might and cultural diversity at Rajpath. The festive mood gripped the entire country as similar events were held in all state capitals. The day began with Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishing the citizens on the 68th Republic Day.

In the national capital of Delhi, which has been seeing rain since Wednesday evening, thousands gathered at Rajpath to witness the Republic Day Parade. This year the parade saw tableaux from 17 states and six ministries in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The armed forces contingent included the Bihar Regiment, the Punjab and Sikh Regiment and the Gorkha Regiment among others as soldiers marched through Rajpath in perfect co-ordination. The cultural performances by students from four schools including Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Chirag Delhi, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pitampura among others.

The highlight of the parade was the UAE armed forces contingent that marched through Rajpath as part of the Republic Day Parade for the first time. UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who was the chief guest this year, was accompanied by a delegation that was also present at Rajpath. The parade ended with the motorcycles daredevils Shwet Ashva displaying their strength and the roaring fighter aircraft of India flying past Rajpath. (Republic Day Parade 2017: As it happened)

In Tamil Nadu’s Chennai, which was the centre of protests against the ban on Jallikattu in the past week, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam hosted the Republic Day parade at the Marina Beach. In Uttar Pradesh, saints unfurled the tricolour at the venue of Magh Mela in Allahabad. The tricolour was also unfurled by Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah at the party headquarters in Delhi.

Sweets were exchanged between the security personnel of India and Pakistan at the Wagah Border in Amritsar’s Attari. The security personnel of India and Bangladesh also exchanged sweets at the Indo-Bangladesh border on the occasion of India’s 68th Republic Day.

Contingents of police, homeguards NCC and others participated in the parade at the district headquarters in the two states of Punjab and Haryana and Chandigarh. Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki unfurled the tricolour at the celebration in Kurukshetra. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar unfurled the national flag during the Republic Day celebrations at Panchkula.

Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore unfurled the national flag at a state function at Patiala, while Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh at Mohali. Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal also unfurled the tricolour in Jalandhar.

Schools and localities in different cities also celebrated the Republic Day by hoisting the national flag and cultural performances. While the country celebrated its 68th Republic Day, there was tight security across different states amidst terror alerts.