Every year on January 26, Republic Day is celebrated with a massive parade that takes place in the national capital. India has the tradition of inviting Heads of State and Dignitaries from other countries as the Chief Guest for the annual Republic Day (RD) parade. An important global political figure graces everyone with their presence. Speculations about the same begin months before the day. Starting from 1950, presidents, prime ministers, monarchical rulers, etc. have came to the country as the chief guest for the Republic Day parade and witness the spectacle.
Now, we bring you moments captured of the Republic Day parade and the chief guests visiting India on 26 January since 1950
Republic Day 1950
President Rajendra Prasad and Chief Guest Sukarno of Indonesia. The event was held with much fanfare at Irwin Stadium, now Maj Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
Republic Day 1952
The Parade took place on Kingsway, with President Rajendra Prasad taking the salute. There was no taam-jhaam. It was brand new Republic, and things were Spartan and basic. There was less restrictive security, and more awaam!
Republic Day 1955
Chief Guest was Governor General of Dominion of Pakistan, Malik Ghulam Mohammed. This was the time of day, inspite of the Indo-Pak War of 1947-48, India and Pakistan held closer ties. The people on Kingsway outnumbered security personnel
Republic Day 1954
Chief Guest was Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck of Bhutan. There was also in attendance Lord Butler, Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Republic Day 1956
The sheer number of people who used to come for the parade was huge. People would come with pots, pans, cooking items & have a day long picnic once the parade was over. Prime Minister Nehru would mingle with the crowd, something that's unthinkable.
Republic Day 1958
Chief Guest was Marshal Je Jianying of the Chinese PLA. Incidentally, The Chinese PLA attacked India the very next year, 1959, in August and October, at Longju and Hot Springs respectively.
Republic Day 1959
Duke Of Edinburgh Prince Philip came to New Delhi as Chief Guest, and the visual reels recorded glimpse of the fly past in Colour.
Republic Day 1961
Queen Elizabeth II came to town, and colour film recorded the resplendent Republic Day of India, with much pomp and circumstance. The PBG, AMX 13 Tanks, GUARDS, Bikaner Ganga Risala, Goorkhas with unsheathed Khukris and Nurses of St John's Ambulance Brigade.
India did not have a Chief Guest for the RD parade in 1952, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1967 and 1970. Since 1971, we have had a Chief Guest every year for the RD parade.
Republic Day Parade 1965
The first and only Republic Day Parade for Lal Bahadur Shastri as PM. Chief Guest was Rana Abdul Hamid, Agriculture Minister of Pakistan under Field Marshal Ayub Khan. In less than 3 months, Pak 51 Bde attacked Sardar Post, Kutch.
Republic Day Parade 1966
Lal Bahadur Shastri had just left this vale a two week ago. Indira Gandhi was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India. We had just come out of a War with Pakistan in 1965. There was no chief guest that year.
Republic Day Parade 1967
Vice President Zakir Hussain took the salute at Rajpath. Supreme Commander, Dr Radhakrishnan was unwell at that time. The Chiefs, Gen Kumaramangalam, Adm Chatterji & ACM Arjan Singh can be seen to the right of the Vice
Republic Day Parade 1968
Kingsway witnessed two Chief Guests
•Marshal Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia
•Marshal Kosygin of Soviet Union.
Republic Day those days being a Free For All event, with hardly any stringent security measures, used to witness massive crowds.
Republic Day Parade 1969
Chief Guest was Prime Minister Todor Zhivkov of Bulgaria. He arrived Kingsway with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The Parade marked 19 Years of the Republic Of India.
Republic Day Parade 1972
A special Republic Day as Prime Minister Indira Gandhi dedicated the newly built Amar Jawan Jyoti to the nation and the Indian soldier. It laid down the tradition of Prime Minister leading the nation to pay homage, prior to commencement of RD Parade. That year, the Saluting dais was perched at Vijay Chowk, instead of Kingsway/Rajpath. It was a celebration of a jubilant nation and splendid services of the Armed Forces during the War in 1971. Gen Manekshaw stands to the right of the Presidential Chhatri.
Republic Day Parade 1974
Chief Guest was Josip Broz Tito, one of the greatest Cold War Heroes and Non Aligned Movement. He returned to New Delhi for Republic Day Parade the second time Earlier all the Tanks in the formation would turn turret and dip the gun in Salute.
Republic Day 1976
French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac came to New Delhi as the Chief Guest. The GANGA JAISALMER RISALA became the 13 GRENADIERS (Ganga Jaisalmer) and seen here, the other half went to BSF as the Bikaner Camel Corps.
Republic Day Parade 1977
Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed's last Republic Day as Supreme Commander. Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister for 11 years, she would be out of office by March. Personnel on parade would wear ribbons and not tailor copies for medals, in absence of Mint issue medals.
Republic Day 1978
First Republic Day for Morarji Desai (Nishan e Pakistan) as Prime Minister of India. Since the dedication of Amar Jawan Jyoti in 1972, Prime Minister would pay homage and return to the saluting dais, in an open jeep. 1990s changed India and Republic Day.
Republic Day Parade 1979
Last Republic Day for Morarji Desai as Prime Minister. Spot Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw MC, if you can, in the crowd. The Indian Navy and newly raised Indian Coast Guard marches to the tune of Jai Bharati, MiG 21 and HAL Ajeet on trailer.
Republic Day 1981
Unlike entire thread above, here is the culmination of the Republic Day Parade at Red Fort. IAF Marching Band in Beret, yes, the IAF did experiment with the Beret for a while, even for officer's. We know what happened to that, they returned to the side cap.
Republic Day Parade 1985
India had changed...
•The Presidential buggy went back to the mews.
•No Salute by the Tanks.
•Stringent security checks.
•Saluting dais pushed back further from the road.
•4 tier security ring.
•Seperation of enclosures.
Republic Day Parade 1989
The last RD Parade of Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister. Chief Guest was General Secretary Nguyen Van Linh of Vietnam. Bharat Vir Wanchoo (SPG) can be seen with Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi
Republic Day Parade 1993
Since 1950, the crowds had reduced. Security apparatus had quadrupled. Equipments changed. Politicians came and went. But, the Celebration of India and the Republic remained as it is, so did the traditions, structure of the Parade, and the ethos.
Republic Day Parade 1995
This one is not from Rajpath, but Jammu. Gen KV Krishna Rao was the Governor, and three Bombs went off right behind the podium. The General survived, and lived to tell the tale. Jammu and Kashmir was a different playground at that time of day.
Republic Day Parade 1997
The Presidential dais got bigger, since 1989, with President, Visiting Chief Guest, their spouses, Vice President, Defence Minister, RRM, and Service Chiefs all enclosed behind the Bullet Proof screen. Don't miss the MBT Arjun on Rajpath.
Republic Day Parade 2004
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was the Supreme Commander and Atal Vajpayee was Prime Minister. Both Bharat Ratna
Republic Day Parade 2014
Chief Guest was Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan. Don't miss the T-90 Bhishma, Light Combat Aircraft Tejas on a trailer BrahMos Missiles and BMP-2 Sarath ICV.
Republic Day Parade 2017
Pranab Mukherjee, Supreme Commander, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi was the Chief Guest, and Narendra Modi Prime Minister of India. The 61 CAVALRY, T-90 Bheesma MBT, BMP-2 Sarath ICV were the usual pieces, along with ALH Dhruv Helicopters.