Curtain Raiser of Independence Day Celebrations -2019 at Red Fort


Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will lead the nation in celebrating the 73rd Independence Day at the majestic Red Fort here tomorrow. Prime Minister will unfurl the National Flag and deliver the customary address to the nation from the ramparts of the iconic monument.

On his arrival at Lahore Gate of Red Fort, Shri Narendra Modi will be received by the Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri Shripad Naik and Defence Secretary Shri Sanjay Mitra.

The Defence Secretary will introduce the General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area, Lt. Gen 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 general salute to Shri Narendra Modi. Thereafter, the Prime Minister 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 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.

This year, Air Force being the coordinating Service, the Guard of Honour will be commanded by Wg Cdr Anuj Bharadwaj. Army Contingent in the Prime Minister’s Guard will be commanded by Major Laishram Tony Singh, the Navy contingent by Lt Cdr Prashanth Prabhakar, while Sqn Ldr 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 01 March 1901 at Lansdown.

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 11 May 1946 at Yol Cantt in Himachal Pradesh.

Post-independence, the Battalion actively participated in 1965 Indo-Pak War, wherein it was tasked to capture the famous OP Hill on 03 October 1965.  Two Officers, one JCO and 19 Other Ranks attained martyrdom during the operation and the Battalion was awarded with one Mahavir Chakra and two Sena Medals.

The Battalion was awarded with 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 J&K in Akhnoor Sector from September 2010 to November 2013, the outstanding achievements of the battalion were once again recognised as it received citation of General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Unit.

After inspecting the Guard of Honour, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will proceed to the ramparts of the Red Fort where he will be greeted by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri 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 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 unfurling of the National Flag. Two Air Force Officers, Flt Lt Jyoti Yadav and Flt Lt Mansi Geda will be positioned on either side of the saluting dais for Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for ADC duties.

The unfurling of the tri-colour 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 Lt Col 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. Wg Cdr 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 Lt Cdr Satwinder Singh, the Army contingent by Maj Surya Prakash, Air Force contingent by Sqn Ldr 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 elite Fifth Battalion of the First Gorkha Rifles, was initially raised in January 1942 at Dharamshala and was later demobilised in December 1946. It was re-raised on the 01 January 1965 at Solan (Himachal Pradesh). The battalion proved its mettle during ‘Operation Cactus Lily’ in ‘East Pakistan’ in 1971 when the unit carried out five consecutive attacks on Santoshpur, Uthali, Darsana, Kushtia and Hardinge Bridge. During the campaign the unit was awarded with three Mahavir Chakras and two Vir Chakras.  The unit was also honoured with the Battle Honour Darsana and the Theatre Honour East Pakistan for its outstanding performance. The Battalion has participated in major operations by Indian Army to include ‘Operation Pawan’ in Sri Lanka in 1989, ‘Operation Rakshak’ in J & K and ‘Operation Rhino’ in Assam. 

The Battalion also had a prestigious opportunity to serve in the United Nations Mission in Sudan from 2008 to 2009.  Fifth battalion of the first Gorkha Rifles is a highly decorated battalion having recipients of three Mahavir Chakras, two Kirti Chakras, six Vir Chakras, two Shaurya Chakras and 32 Sena Medals. The Battalion has also been awarded with the Chief of Army Staff Unit citation for its outstanding performance during ‘Operation Rakshak’ in Jammu & Kashmir from 1997-1999, and with the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (Eastern Command) Unit Citation during ‘Operation Rhino’ in Assam. The unit also represented Indian Army at the prestigious Army Cambrian Patrol Chairmanship held in United Kingdom in 2007 and won Gold Medal. The Battalion is presently performing the Honourable duty of Ceremonial Army Guard to the President of India.

After unfurling the National Flag, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will address the nation. After the Prime Minister’s address, school children and NCC Cadets will sing the National Anthem.

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 ‘नया भारत’ (Naya Bharat).