New Delhi | The 75th Republic Day celebrations at the majestic Kartavya Path on January 26 will largely be "women-centric" with the central theme of India's democracy and its resolve to become a developed nation.
In a first, the parade will be heralded by 100 women artists with Indian musical instruments, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane said on Friday.
The parade will also witness an all-women tri-services contingent marching down the ceremonial boulevard for the first time, and the central armed police forces contingents will also consist of women personnel, he said.
"The best representation of women will be seen in this year's Republic Day parade," the defence secretary told reporters.
A 95-member marching team and 33-member band contingent from France will also take part in the parade.
Along with the aircraft of the Indian Air Force, one Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft and two Rafale fighter jets of the French Air Force will participate in the fly-past, Aramane said.
French President Emmanuel Macron will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.
"With the themes of 'Viksit Bharat' and 'Bharat -- Loktantra ki Matruka', the 75th Republic Day Parade at Kartavya Path on January 26 will be women-centric," he said.
Aramane said women marching contingents will form the major chunk of the parade, with most of the tableaux of states and Union Territories (UTs) and Central ministries showcasing the country's rich cultural diversity, unity and progress.
The themes have been selected in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's views that 'India is truly a mother of democracy', he said.
In another unique initiative, the Ministry of Culture will be showcasing 'Anant Sutra -- The Endless Thread' textile installation at Kartavya Path.
It will be installed behind the spectators seated in the enclosures. Anant Sutra is a visually-stunning tribute to the saree, India's timeless gift to the world of fashion.
This unique installation will showcase nearly 1,900 sarees and drapes from every corner of the country, mounted at a height with wooden frames, Aramane said.
It will have QR codes which can be scanned to know the details about weaving and embroidery arts used in it.
Around 13,000 "special guests" have also been invited to witness the parade this year.
The defence secretary said the objective is to provide an opportunity to the people from all walks of life to take part in the national festival, in line with the government's vision of 'Jan Bhagidari'.
These 'special guests' will include best performers in various fields and those who made best use of various schemes of the government such as Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, PM Ujjwala Yojana, PM Street Vendor's Aatmanirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi), PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, PM Fasal Bima Yojana and PM Vishwakarma Yojana among others.
Women space scientists of ISRO, yoga teachers (Ayushman Bharat), winners of international sports events and paralympic medalists will also attend the parade as special guests.
Aramane said that given their tough livelihood, special emphasis was laid to include people from 'vibrant villages' in the border areas in the list of special guests.
A total 16 tableaux from states and Union Territories and from central ministries and departments will roll down the Kartavya Path during the parade.
The states and Union Territories are: Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Ladakh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.
Like each year, the tableaux have been selected by an expert committee comprising eminent persons in the fields of art, culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture, choreography, he said.
Aramane said to address the concerns of some states and Union Territories over the non-inclusion of their tableaux, the defence ministry has devised a unique three-year roll-over plan.
The plan ensures equitable participation of the states and the Union Territories on a rotational basis over a period of three years.
The total seating capacity at the celebrations will be 77,000 out of which 42,000 seats are being reserved for the general public.
The parade will start at 1030 hours and run for a duration of approximately 90 minutes.
The defence secretary said the 'Beating Retreat' ceremony at Vijay Chowk on January 29 will witness all Indian tunes to mark the culmination of 75th Republic Day celebrations.
"The tunes will be played by bands of the Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, central armed police forces before a distinguished audience," he said.
Aramane said an online competition will be held wherein people can sing/play the Indian tunes, highlighting the sacrifices and patriotism of soldiers, and upload them on MyGov platform.