Republic Day Parade: No Foreign Dignitaries This Year, Only 24,000 People To Attend

New Delhi: Taking note of the surge in Covid-19 cases, the Union Defence Ministry on Saturday said around 24,000 people will be allowed to attend the Republic Day parade in the national capital on January 26 this year.

Sources said 19,000 out of the approximately 24,000 people, who will be attending the parade this year, would be invited, while the rest would be the general public who can purchase tickets.

Around 1.25 lakh people were permitted to attend the parade earlier in 2020 before the Covid pandemic broke out in India, PTI reported sources in the defence establishment as saying.

Earlier on January 26, 2021, close to 25,000 people were allowed to attend the Republic Day parade amid Covid-19 restrictions.

Sources said the Republic Day parade this year also may not have any foreign dignitary as the chief guest due to the pandemic just like last time.

Sources added India was, however, planning to invite the leaders of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan

All Covid protocols will be followed at the parade this year, the Defence Ministry said, adding the social distancing norms would be followed while making the seating arrangements.

Besides, it would be compulsory for all to wear masks and the sanitiser dispensers will be available everywhere.

The Centre earlier in the day announced the Republic Day celebrations will begin every year from January 23 instead of January 24 to include freedom fighter Subash Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary.

The ruling dispensation said the new change will take place in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s focus on commemorating important aspects of the country’s history and culture.