The Republic Day celebrations started with the unfurling of the national flag by the President. Thereafter, the national anthem was played and President Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Hamid Ansari and other dignitaries paid respect to the tri-coloured flag.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi paid tribute at the ‘Amar Jawan Jyoti’, the memorial dedicated to martyrs who sacrificed their lives in service of the nation.
President Obama is the first U.S. president to attend the Republic Day celebrations and is also the first U.S. president to visit the country twice while in office. He is the chief guest in this year’s Rebublic Day celebrations.
The Ashok Chakra award, which was conferred to Major Mukund Varadarajan and Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh posthumously, is given for the ‘most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or self-sacrifice’ other than in the face of the enemy.