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Sidelights of Independence Day

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: August 15, 2019  | 17:42 IST

New Delhi, Aug 15 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the Red Fort amid a thunderous applause as people stood up to catch a glimpse of him. -- The prime minister, who unfurled the national flag at the 17th century Mughal monument on the 73rd Independence Day, was dressed in a white kurta-pyjama and sported a colourful Rajasthani-style turban with a long plume. -- Modi got down from his black Range Rover and waved at the crowd, which included thousands of school children. -- He was received by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister of State for Defence S Y Naik and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra. -- The secretary introduced the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Delhi area, to Modi. -- The prime minister, accompanied by the GOC, then proceeded towards the saluting base where a combined Inter-Services and Police Guard presented a general salute to him. -- He then walked to the ramparts of the Red Fort and unfurled the tricolour around 7.30 am. -- The guards then presented the national salute as the band played the national anthem amid a 21-gun salute. -- The prime minister then addressed the nation for nearly 95 minutes. For the sixth year in a row, he spoke from an open-air podium and not a bullet-proof glass enclosure. -- Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, S Jaishankar, Nitin Gadkari, Ramesh Pokhriyal, Prahlad Singh Patel, among other leaders. -- Chiefs of the three services Gen Bipin Rawat, Air Marshal B S Dhanoa and Admiral Karmabir Singh were also present on the occasion. -- Thousands of school children had made a coordinated formation in front of the Red Fort, reading 'Naya Bharat'. -- Early morning rains made the weather pleasant. However, it left the lawns soggy with puddles of water. -- It drizzled mid-way during the prime minister's speech. Many wore raincoats while attending the event. -- After his address, Modi waved to the crowd and moved to his motorcade for departure. But on his way out, he stopped and sidestepped security cordon to enter an enclosure where children welcomed him with loud cheers. He shook hands with many of them. PTI KND/GVS AQS

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