India celebrates its 70th Republic Day on January 26

NEW DELHI: India celebrates its 70th Republic Day on January 26, which falls on a Saturday this year. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will be the chief guest of the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Saturday, which is also going to be the outgoing NDA government's last big public event before 2019 general elections. Mr Ramaphosa will be accompanied by first lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe and a high-level delegation including nine ministers, senior officials and a 50-member business contingent, who are all on a two-day India visit. It will be Mr Ramaphosa's first India tour as the head of the state. Later on, PM Modi and Mr Ramaphosa will hold delegation-level talks on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.

What is special about this year's event For the first time, the entire nation will witness an all-women Assam Rifles Contingent marching down the Rajpath on the 70th Republic Day, saluting the President. This year also marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi who had a special connection with South Africa. The parade will begin with the laying of a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The 90-minute parade will see 22 larger-than-life tableaux on Mahatma Gandhi, performances by school students and others. COMMENT Republic Day is celebrated every year on January 26 since 1950. It is of great importance in the history of democracy of the country. It was on January 26, 1950 that the largest constitution of the world was enforced in India. India since then became a Republican state- "For the people, by the people."

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