March 24, 2023

Drones and laser show at Beating Retreat; new initiatives for Republic Day | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Don’t be alarmed if you spot a drone swarm flying over Lutyens’ Delhi towards the month-end. The enthralling Beating Retreat ceremony, which is held on January 29 every year, will include 1,000 drones flying in synchronization with background music as well as a laser “projection mapping” show this time.
The defence ministry has “conceptualized” the “novel” drone show and several other new initiatives for the Republic Day celebrations from January 23 to 30 to mark 75 years of the country’s Independence, a senior official said on Tuesday.
The initiatives range from eco-friendly invitation cards that will have seeds of medicinal plants Ashwagandha, Aloe Vera and Amla and display of 10 huge 75-metre long painting scrolls along the majestic Rajpath to installation of 10 large LED screens and reservation of some seats for autorickshaw drivers, construction, safai and frontline health workers at the events.
The drone and projection mapping shows at the Beating Retreat ceremony, which is a centuries-old solemn military ritual marking the end of a day’s battle with bugles, pipes and drums, however, may cause some disquiet among purists.
But the MoD is enthusiastic about the endeavour. “The 10-minute novel drone show has been conceptualised, designed, produced and choreographed within the country. This ‘Make in India’ initiative has been organised by a start-up, ‘Botlab Dynamics’, supported by IIT-Delhi and the Department of Science & Technology,” the official said.
“India will be the fourth country to conduct a drone show of this size, with its own design and technology, after China, Russia and the US. The three to four-minute projection mapping show, in turn, would be showcased on the walls of North and South Blocks before the end of the ceremony,” he added.
The Republic Day parade on January 26 will begin at 10.30 amthis year, instead of the customary 10 am, to ensure better visibility of the massive flypast, in which 75 aircraft will take part. “People for the first time will also get a glimpse of some unseen visuals from the cockpits of fighter jets performing manoeuvres,” the official said.
The Covid-19 pandemic, however, will be a dampener. “The number of people physically attending the parade has been severely curtailed. The exact number is still being finalized but it will be only 5,000-8,000,” the official said.
The number of people at the parade last year had been slashed to 25,000 from the 1.25 lakh in earlier years. “People can be part of the celebrations through television, internet and social media platforms,” he said.
Another initiative will be the “Shaheedon Ko Shat Shat Naman”, under which NCC cadets will present a “plaque of gratitude” to the next of kin (NoK) of 5,000 fallen heroes all over the country at the same time PM Narendra Modi pays homage at the National War Memorial (NWM) in the Capital on January 26. “This programme will continue till August 15 to felicitate NoKs of all 26,466 fallen heroes whose names are etched on the NWM walls,” he said.
The MoD and the culture ministry also held the “Vande Bharatam” nationwide competition to select 600 dancers for the cultural performances during the parade. “The objective was to select the top dancing talent from across the country and provide equal opportunity to all to perform during this mega event,” he added.

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