New Delhi: India celebrates its 64th Republic Day on Saturday. The King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Wangchuk, will be the chief guest for the event. The Delhi Police and the paramilitary forces have left no stone unturned in ensuring that the event passes off peacefully.
According to the Delhi Police, a tight security cover will be in place across the capital with around 25,000 security personnel of the police and the paramilitary forces keeping vigil.
Nine stations of the Delhi Metro too will be closed from 6.00 am to 12.30 pm due to security reasons. The nine stations are Rajiv Chowk, Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan, Race Course, Barakhamba Road, Mandi House, Pragati Maidan and Khan Market.
The Republic Day ceremonies will start with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh laying the wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at 9.40 am. This year's parade will highlight the nation's achievements in various fields, the military prowess, scintillating display of air power as also country's rich and diverse cultural heritage. The highlights of this year will also be the above 5,000 km range Agni-V missile.
This will also be Pranab Mukherjee's first Republic Day as President.
He addressed the nation on its eve. He spoke about Naxal violence, the tensions along the Line of Control and also about the brutal rape and murder of a 23-year-old medical student aboard a moving bus in Delhi in December 2012.
He said the youth cannot be blamed for their anger and that leaders must ensure good governance. He added that the nation needs to introspect and reset its moral compass.
On economic reforms, the President said that India should not follow the rich nations which practise free market economy without social obligations.
He had a message for Pakistan as well. He said India believes in peace on the border, but this should not be taken for granted.