Independence Day Celebrations at Red Fort
On arrival at Lahori Gate of Red Fort, the Prime Minister will be received by the Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar, Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre and Defence Secretary Shri G Mohan Kumar.
The Defence Secretary will introduce the General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area, Lt. General Vijay Singh 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 general salute to the Prime Minister. Thereafter, Shri Narendra Modi will inspect the Guard of Honour.
The Guard of Honour contingent for the Prime Minister will consist of one officer and 24 men each from 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.
This year, Air Force being the Coordinating Service, the Guard of Honour will be commanded by Wing Commander K Srinivasan of the Indian Air Force. The Army Contingent in the Prime Minister’s Guard will be commanded by Major Mahesh Singh Bisht, the Navy contingent by Lt Cdr Aashish Pandey, while Flt Lt Shagun Sareen will lead the Air Force contingent and the Delhi Police contingent by ACP Shri Prashant Priya.
The Army contingent for Prime Minister’s Guard is drawn from the 8th Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry (Siachen). The battalion was raised as the First Battalion Border Scouts by volunteers who took up arms in the aftermath of communal passion and the smouldering embers of partition to check the multitude of Kabailies intruding into Poonch on 18 December 1947. Born in Battle and Purified in Blood, the battalion was re-designated as 08th Jammu & Kashmir Militia on 15 April 1948.
In 1971 war, the battalion was outnumbered but never outclassed in valour and fought the defensive battle successfully despite enemy’s passion for Chhamb. For this the battalion was awarded Battle Honour – Laleali and Picquet 707. The Regiment was rechristened Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry on 27 April 1976.
During the Siachen tenure in June 1987, the battalion created history by capturing ‘Quaid Post’ at an altitude of 21,153 feet, the highest battlefield in the world. The post was renamed as ‘Bana Top’ in honour of Naib Subedar Bana Singh, Param Vir Chakra. The battalion was awarded Chief of the Army Staff Unit Citation in 2001 for its sterling performance in Jammu & Kashmir, Poonch Sector. The Battalion established the United Nations Mission in Sudan 2006 and was conferred with United Nations Unit Citation in the year 2007 for handling the bloodiest of clashes ever in the history of Sudan.
The battalion yet again proved its mettle during its 2008 tenure at Kupwara in Jammu & Kashmir when Naib Subedar Chuni Lal, Vir Chakra, Sena Medal, who laid down his life following the highest traditions of Indian Army while fighting terrorists, was bestowed with the highest peacetime gallantry award, Ashok Chakra (Posthumous). With this, the battalion joined the elite group of ‘Bravest of the Brave’ battalions. Apart from this, the battalion was once again conferred with Chief of the Army Staff Unit Citation in 2009 for its splendid performance on the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir.
The Battalion is presently one of the most decorated battalions of the Indian Army with Naib Subedar Chuni Lal, Ashok Chakra (Posthumous), Vir Chakra, Sena Medal as one of the most decorated soldier. Presently, the Battalion is performing the prestigious duty of Ceremonial Army Guard to the President of India.
After inspecting the Guard of Honour, the Prime Minister will proceed to the ramparts of the Red Fort where he will be greeted by Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar, Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre, Chief of the Army Staff General Dalbir Singh, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba. The GOC Delhi area will conduct the Prime Minister to the dais to unfurl the National Flag.
The unfurling of the tri-colour will synchronize with the 21 Gun Salute fired by the valiant gunners of the elite 2281 Field Regiment (Ceremonial). The ceremonial battery will be commanded by Lt. Col Aditya Kumar Devrani, Shaurya Chakra, Sena Medal and the Gun Position Officer will be Sub (Assistant Instructor in Gunnery) Louis Diraviam.
The National Flag Guard comprising 32 men and one officer each from 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 Jayapaul James 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 Lt Cdr Shrikant C Joshi, the Army contingent by Maj Anuj Kumar Tomar, Air Force contingent by Sqn Ldr Vinayak Godbole and Delhi Police contingent by Additional DCP Shri M Harshvardhan.
The Air Force Band will play National Anthem when the National Guard presents ‘Rashtriya Salute’ while unfurling the National Flag by the Prime Minister. All Service personnel in uniform will stand and salute. The Band will be commanded by JWO Shyamal Kumar Mitra, Musician of No. 2 Air Force Band.
Two Air Force Officers, Flt Lt Nishank Awasthi and Flt Lt Abhishek Kashyap will be positioned on either side of the saluting dais for the Prime Minister for ADC duties. Flt Lt Prabhjot Kaur will assist the Prime Minister in unfurling of the National Flag.
The Army Contingent for the National Flag Guard is drawn from 11th Battalion of the Jat Regiment. This is a 52 years’ old battalion with gallant past and dynamic present. The battalion has served in all terrains on our national borders and has grown from strength to strength in all these years. It was raised on 01 April 1964 at Bareilly by Late Major Bhagu Ram Saharan. It has to its credit Chief of the Army Staff Unit Citation awarded for its excellent performance in Counter Intelligence Operations in Tangdhar from 2007 – 2010. The battalion has also been conferred with GOC-in-C (Northern Command) and GOC-in-C (Western Command) Unit Citation in the year 2006 and 2014 respectively. It has been put on duty in Delhi with effect from 30 May 2016 and has taken over the operation responsibility with great fervour. For the year 2014-15, while deploying in Arunachal Pradesh, it was adjudged the Best Battalion in 71 Infantry Division, which is the 4th Consecutive Best Battalion Award.
After unfurling the National Flag, the Prime Minister will address the nation. After the Prime Minister’s address, school children and NCC Cadets will sing the National Anthem.
Seven hundred boy cadets of the National Cadet Corps drawn from various schools of Delhi Directorate comprising Army, Navy and Air Force wings are participating in the flag hoisting ceremony this year. The cadets will take part in the singing of patriotic songs and the national anthem along with the school children. In total, three thousand five hundred girl students from 42 government schools of eastern, north-eastern, northern and central zones of Directorate of Education, Government of Delhi will sing the National Anthem. They will also sing patriotic songs in different regional languages during the celebrations. On this occasion these school children will display the formation of ‘70th’ Independence Day.