Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to focus on the theme of ‘New India’ in his address to the nation on 73rd Independence Day on Thursday.
To mark what will be his sixth consecutive address to the nation, 3,500 girl students drawn from 41 government schools in the national capital, 5,000 boys and 700 NCC cadets of 17 schools will display ‘strength in unity’ by the formation of words — ‘Naya Bharat’ (New India).
“On this festival of national fervour, 3,500 girl students drawn from 41 government schools in Delhi; 5,000 boy spectators and 700 NCC cadets (Army, Navy and Air Force) of 17 schools, through their willing and committed presence will display ‘strength in unity’ by the formation of words Naya Bharat,” read a statement from the Ministry of Defence on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Modi will lead the nation in celebrating the 73rd Independence Day at the iconic Red Fort in the national capital on Thursday. He will unfurl the National Flag and deliver the customary address to the nation from the ramparts of the monument.
On his arrival at the Lahore Gate of Red Fort, the Prime Minister will be received by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister of State (MoS) for Defence Shripad Naik and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, the statement read.
The Defence Secretary will introduce the General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area, Lieutenant General Asit Mistry to the Prime Minister. The GoC Delhi Area will then conduct the Prime Minister to the Saluting Base where a combined Inter-Services and Police Guards will present a general salute to Prime Minister Modi. Thereafter, he will inspect the Guard of Honour, the statement added.
The Guard of Honour contingent for the Prime Minister will consist of one officer and 24 men each from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Delhi Police. The Guard of Honour will be positioned directly in front of the National Flag across the moat below the ramparts.
With the Air Force being the coordinating Service this year, the Guard of Honour will be commanded by Wing Commander Anuj Bharadwaj. Army contingent in the Prime Minister’s Guard will be commanded by Major Laishram Tony Singh, the Navy contingent by Lieutenant Commander Prashanth Prabhakar, while Squadron Leader S B Gowda will lead the Air Force contingent and the Delhi Police contingent by Additional DCP Bikram HM Meena.
The Army contingent for Prime Minister’s Guard is drawn from the 2 Garhwal Rifles. The 2nd Battalion of Garhwal Rifles was raised on March 1, 1901, at Lansdown, the statement read.
“During World War I, Rifleman Gabar Singh Negi of 2 Garhwal Rifles was awarded Victoria Cross (Posthumously), the highest gallantry award possible in the Royal Indian Army. The battalion was conferred with ten Battle Honours in World War I. The saga of bravery continued for the brave Garhwalis during World War II wherein they were conferred with the Battle Honour Kuantan Malaya. The Battalion suffered heavy causalities during World War II and was re-raised on May 11, 1946, at Yol Cantt in Himachal Pradesh,” it stated.
Post-independence, the Battalion actively participated in the 1965 Indo-Pak War, wherein it was tasked to capture the famous OP Hill on October 3, 1965. Two Officers, one JCO and 19 other ranks attained martyrdom during the operation and the Battalion was awarded one Mahavir Chakra and two Sena Medals, the Defence Ministry statement stated.
The Battalion was awarded the Chief of Army Staff Unit Citation and General-Office Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Unit Citation for its exemplary tenure in the Kashmir Valley as part of Operation ‘Rakshak’ from May 1994 to September 1996.
During its tenure in Akhnoor sector of Jammu and Kashmir from September 2010 to November 2013, the outstanding achievements of the battalion were once again recognised as it received a citation of General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Unit.
After inspecting the Guard of Honour, the Prime Minister will proceed to the ramparts of the Red Fort where he will be greeted by Rajnath Singh, Shripad Naik, Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh. The GOC Delhi area will conduct the Prime Minister to the dais to unfurl the National Flag.
The Indian Air Force band will play the National Anthem when the National Guard presents ‘Rashritya Salute’ while the Prime Minister unfurls the National Flag. All Service personnel in uniform will stand and salute. The Band will be commanded by Junior Warrant Officer Pankaj Babu. Flying Officer Preetam Sangwan will assist the Prime Minister in the unfurling of the National Flag.
Two Air Force Officers — Flight Lieutenant Jyoti Yadav and Flight Lieutenant Mansi Geda — will be positioned on either side of the saluting dais for Prime Minister Modi for ADC duties.
The unfurling of the national flag will synchronise with the 21 Gun Salute fired by the valiant gunners of the elite 2233 Field Battery (Ceremonial). The ceremonial battery will be commanded by Lieutenant Colonel C Sandeep and the Gun Position Officer will be Regiment Havildar Major Kolate Rajesh Sripati.
The National Flag Guard comprising 32 men and one officer each from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Delhi Police will present Rashtriya Salute at the time of unfurling of the National Flag by the Prime Minister. Wing Commander Kunal Khanna from Indian Air Force will be in command of this Inter-Services Guard and Police Guard.
The Naval Contingent for the National Flag Guard will be commanded by Lieutenant Commander Satwinder Singh, the Army contingent by Major Surya Prakash, Air Force contingent by Squadron Leader Ravindra and Delhi Police contingent by Additional DCP Rohit Rajvir Singh.
The Army contingent for the National Flag Guard is drawn from the 5th Battalion of the First Gorkha Rifles. The Battalion had a prestigious opportunity to serve in the United Nations Mission in Sudan from 2008 to 2009. The Battalion is presently performing the duty of Ceremonial Army Guard to the President of India.
After unfurling the National Flag, Prime Minister Modi will address the nation. After the Prime Minister’s address, school children and NCC Cadets will sing the National Anthem.