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India became a republic 60 years ago

January 26, 2010 - NEW DELHI

India observes its 60th anniversary as a Republic on Jan 26 with a near two-hour military parade in New Delhi that will highlight its nuclear-powered arsenal. The display of India's advanced weaponry is intended to match China's show of the same during the 60th anniversary parade in Beijing in October. Maoists rebels (Naxals) in the hinterland states represent a potential threat to the commemorative events. Under pressure from the government, they will observe the anniversary as a Black Day.

India observes its 60th anniversary as a Republic on Jan 26 with a near two-hour military parade in New Delhi that will highlight its nuclear-powered arsenal. The display of India's advanced weaponry is intended to match China's show of the same during the 60th anniversary parade in Beijing in October. Maoists rebels (Naxals) in the hinterland states represent a potential threat to the commemorative events. Under pressure from the government, they will observe the anniversary as a Black Day. Security arrangements throughout the country and in New Delhi, in particular, will be heightened against the possibility extremists will try to disrupt the proceedings. Controversially, the Indian Air Force is seeking permission to fire when its aircraft are under Naxal attack, and there are plans to deploy some 70,000 paramilitary personnel to Naxal stronghold states of Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Maharastra. But there is are differences on opinion between the Ministry of Defense and the Home office on the use of armed force against Naxals. The former supporting force and the latter refuse it, arguing that that use of the armed forces against the own citizens will further escalate the violence. The Republic Day can be expected to heighten the debate. The Republic Day will serve a purpose for the government to counter the charges questioning India's credibility with the nuclear deterrent. Recently, the scientific community and the political establishment were in debate over the controversy surrounding India's nuclear tests, which were conducted in 1998. A former scientist with Defense Research Development Organization, K Santhanam, revealed that the thermonuclear tests conducted in May 1998 didn't yield the expected result. Besides the nuclear powered long- range missiles such as Agni I, II and III, Prithvi, other military advanced weapons such as T-90 Tanks, BrahMos Missile and a fly-past by advanced light helicopters Dhruv will be on display. Also, the Republic Day parade will honor the Indian Armed Forces who had served in the previous wars with Pakistan during 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999, with China in 1962 and those who served in the World War II. On the eve of the Republic Day, the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian armed forces, the President, Pratibha Patil will take the guard of honor from the armed forces. Following the Republic Day is a display of arts, culture and music from the different states of the country which will be a like a kaleidoscope of images portraying the culture of India. The colonial British government handed over the country to the Indian government on 15 Aug 1947, and that date is observed annually as Independence Day. Republic Day honors the country's freedom fighters against the British, and on that day 60 years ago, a prominent freedom fighters, Rajendra Prasad, became the first President of Republic of India. Oct/09 ARTICLE SUPPLIED BY NEWSAHEAD CORRESPONDENT C.BALAJI, WHO IS AVAILABLE FOR FREELANCE ASSIGNMENTS IN INDIA AND THE REGION. email: [email protected]

IAF set for govt nod to open fire during anti-Naxal ops (Indian Express 10 Oct 2009)

Nod for new anti-naxal plan (The Hindu 9 Oct 2009)

NSA terms Santhanam&rsquos claims &lsquohorrific' (The Hindu 21 Sep 2009)

India must turn away from the bomb (The Guardian 23 Sep 2009)

Naxalism gravest internal security threat: PM (Indian Express 15 Sep 2009)

An impressive show on R-Day (The Hindu 27Jan 2009)

Date written/update: 2010-01-26