Authorities in India have beefed up security across major cities including capital New Delhi, days ahead of Thursday’s 68th Republic Day celebrations.
The step, according to police officials on Monday, has been taken to thwart possible attempts by militant groups to disrupt official celebrations.
“The national capital has been brought under ground-to-air security cover with thousands of armed personnel keeping a tight vigil for Republic Day celebrations,” a police official in NewDelhi said.
A full dress rehearsal for the Republic Day parade was held in the capital, with reports of nearly 50,000 security personnel.
The rehearsal started from Vijay Chowk and culminated at Red Fort ground. The parade created traffic jams in central New Delhi, especially in areas close to India Gate.
The state-run broadcaster All India Radio quoted a senior police official as saying that anti-drone technology would be used to thwart an attack or identify any suspicious flying object, as well as deploying security personnel atop buildings with anti-aircraft guns.
“On Jan 25, Delhi borders will be sealed and all cars entering the national capital will bechecked thoroughly,” the broadcaster said. “CCTV cameras have been installed and eight control rooms set up to monitor the feed from the cameras.”
In Kashmir, paramilitary authorities were seen checking vehicles and frisking pedestrians inSrinagar and Jammu.
The security agencies have also cordoned off the Bakhshi Stadium and Moulana AzadMemorial Stadium – the main venues for the celebrations. Likewise unprecedented security arrangements have been made in northeastern states.
The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will be the chief guest for celebrations in New Delhi.
Addressing a news conference in the capital on Monday, Deputy Parade Commander, MajorGeneral Rajesh Sahai said a contingent of UAE soldiers will also march down the Rajpathboulevard during the ceremony.
This will be the second time a foreign contingent will participate in the celebrations.
Last year, a French military marching band joined the parade.
Republic Day marks the adoption of India’s constitution.
The main function is held in New Delhi, where the country’s army, navy and air force display their skills and military might.
Photo Caption: The Daredevil motorcycle display team take part in a rehearsal for Thursday’s Republic Dayparade in New Delhi, India. A huge crowd gathered to watch the event in the capital, whichwas being guarded by nearly 50,000 security personnel, according to reports.CathalMcnaughton / Reuters