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Republic Day 2021 parade: What will be different this year due to COVID-19 impact?

For the first time in 55 years, no foreign head of state would be attending the Republic Day parade. The government has announced a number of restrictions for the event, including a cap on spectators, age limit for attendees, shorter parade route and biobubble for participating soldiers.

January 25, 2021 / 01:32 PM IST

The 72nd Republic Day parade in India would be different as compared to the preceding years, due to the impact of COVID-19. From a cap on spectators to biobubble for participating soldiers, an array of restrictions have been announced.

No foreign guest

For the first time in 55 years, no foreign head of state would be attending the Republic Day parade. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was invited as the chief guest in December, cancelled his visit earlier this month citing the unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases in the UK.

Cap on spectators

The audience of R-Day parade would be reduced by one-fourth as compared to the previous years. The government has decided to allow a maximum of 25,000 spectators at Rajpath, down from around 1.15 lakh in 2019. Children below the age of 15 and senior citizens aged above 65 would not be permitted.

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Shorter military contingents

The Indian Army will deploy six contingents of armed forces and paramilitary forces for the parade. Instead of the regular contingents comprising of 144 soldiers, each of them will comprise of 96 this year, NDTV reported.

Children participation reduced

Unlike the past year when nearly 600 children and folk artists participated for various cultural programmes, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the parade this year will feature only 321 children.

Parade route shortened

The parade will end at the  National Stadium this year, instead of the Red Fort, Hindustan Times reported officials as saying. The number of cultural programmes would also be reduced, the report added.

Biobubble for soldiers

The soldiers participating in the Republic Day parade would be kept in a biobubble, till the event concludes, The Week reportedTheir movement would be restricted in accordance with the biobubble norms. The move is aimed at preventing them from contracting coronavirus.
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