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Republic Day: Virat, the elite horse of President's Bodyguard, retires

Republic Day: Virat, the elite horse of President's Bodyguard, retires

Along with President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also bid their farewell to the magnificent horse and patted Virat after the parade

Along with President Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also bid their farewell to the magnificent horse and patted Virat after the parade Along with President Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also bid their farewell to the magnificent horse and patted Virat after the parade

As the celebrations of 73rd Republic Day came to a close at the Rajpath, Virat, the President's Bodyguard Commandant's black horse, retired from his years long service.

What made the occasion special was Virat’s presence as it escorted President Ram Nath Kovind back to the Rashtrapati Bhavan for the last time on Wednesday.

The Hanoverian breed horse was included in the bodyguard family in 2003. Apart from escorting the current President of India, Virat also has the distinction of guarding former Presidents with grace and dignity in parades. He is also called the President's Bodyguard's "charger".

Along with President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also bid their farewell to the magnificent horse and patted Virat after the parade.

Virat, who took part 13 times in Republic Day parades, was the mount of President's Bodyguard Commandant Colonel Anup Tiwary.

Virat was also awarded the Chief of the Army Staff Commendation on the eve of Army Day on January 15. Virat is the first horse to receive the commendation for exceptional service and abilities.

Who are President's Bodyguard?

The Indian President’s Bodyguard is the most elite regiment in the country's Army. Its soldiers are selected from a pool of thousands and bedecked in the finest regalia.

They have also been assigned to the nation’s uppermost VIPs. The 200-strong PBG personnel are also capable tankmen and paratroopers.

Every Republic Day, the horsemen -- draped in fine red coats, golden sashes and resplendent turbans -- escort the President to the stage and give the order for the national anthem to begin.