New Delhi, Jan 26: India in its 69th Republic Day Parade showcased its military might on Rajpath on Friday with 10 heads of Asean countries. The Republic Day Parade began after a brief award ceremony where Indian Air Commando Jay Prakash Nirala was given Ashok Chakra posthumously. Nirala lost his life in an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir where his team killed six militants.

Five Mi-17 V5 helicopters of the Indian Air Force, showering petals and carrying the national flag, ASEAN flag and services flags, preceded parade commander Lt Gen Asit Mistry, the General Officer Commanding (Delhi Area).

A camel contingent of the BSF and columns of the 61st cavalry with 51 horses will be part of the parade. For the first time a tableau of All India Radio led a series of 23 tableaux during the parade.  It featured Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly address ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

An Income Tax Department tableau about special anti-black money drive launched post-demonetisation was also on the list of many firsts.

The Navy  showcased Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant, which will be commissioned in 2020 and the Defence Development and Research Organisation will exhibit the ‘Nirbhay’ missile and the Ashwini radar system. Three T-90 tanks, two BRAHMOS missiles, two AKASH missiles will also be part of the mechanised columns at the parade.