Sputnik Opinion
In-depth analysis of regional & global events provided by Indian & foreign experts - from politics & economics to sci-tech & health.

Military Expert Reveals What Makes India's Republic Day Parade Unique

© AP Photo / Manish SwarupIndian military bands perform at the Raisina hills, the government seat of power, during the Beating Retreat ceremony, in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022.
Indian military bands perform at the Raisina hills, the government seat of power, during the Beating Retreat ceremony, in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 25.01.2023
Every year on January 26, India commemorates Republic Day. The national holiday is marked by a parade in New Delhi that showcases the country's military might.
A military expert has revealed that for the first in the history of now-independent India, a domestically-manufactured gun will be used for a salute during the Republic Day parade on Thursday.
Pravin Sawhney, the former Indian Army officer and author of bestselling books including The Last War: How AI Will Shape India's Final Showdown With China, Dragon On Our Doorstep: Managing China Through Military Power, The Defence Makeover: Ten Myths That Shape India's Image and Operation Parakram: The War Unfinished, spoke to Sputnik ahead of the country's 74th Republic Day celebrations, where he discussed at length what the significance is of the parade held at Kartavya Path.
Sputnik: On every Republic Day, the Delhi parade is held to showcase both India's defense capabilities and its rich cultural heritage. What, in your opinion, is unique about the country's parade?
Pravin Sawhney: What is unique about India's military parade is that the President of India always takes the salute as the commander-in-chief. On the other hand, in China, the General Secretary of the Communist Party is accorded the honor, instead of the President of the nation.

Speaking about the unique features of this year's parade in the national capital, earlier the salute received by the President was given by a 25-pounder gun, a British-made gun used in the Second World War. This time, instead of that gun, the 105 Indian field guns will be used to welcome the president.

This year's parade will also see a "military tattoo", which means that there will be elaborate performances by the Indian armed forces, including acrobatics.
I would also say that the government's naming of the 21 islands in the Andaman and Nicobar (archipelagos) on 23 January, honoring the Indian war heroes, should also be seen as a part of the Republic Day ceremony.
So in these ways, this Republic Day parade will be different from the previous parades.
Sputnik: In 2023, there are still a number of things dating back to colonial times that are endemic in general Indian culture, and the Army specifically. The Indian government last year vowed to do away with the British colonial legacy in the Army. What do you think about these initiatives?
Pravin Sawhney: There is nothing wrong in that, but then there are certain rituals and traditions which may have come from the British that have been fully adapted by the Indian military forces, so they should be kept in practice. Other than that, doing away with the colonial past is not an issue.