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December 26, 2001
1230 IST

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Army Day parade cancelled

Owing to large-scale deployment of troops and armour along the borders following Pakistani military build-up, Army Day parade scheduled for January 15, 2002 has been cancelled and the government is understood to be considering whether to go ahead with the customary Republic Day parade in the capital.

The cancellation of the Parade, during which the might of the Army is on display at the cantonment in Delhi, follows deployment of army formations along the borders, an army spokesman said.

Defence sources said that the decision to cancel the parade was taken by Army Chief S Padmanabhan after consulting the top brass as tanks, artillery and several troop formations, including some from the strike corps have moved closer to Rajasthan and Punjab borders.

They, however, said that the ceremonial functions at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate and the Army Day reception, attended by the President and the Prime Minister, would be held on January 15.

The issue whether or not to go ahead with the Republic Day is also under the consideration of the Union Cabinet.

There is a school of thought that favours going ahead with it, since it is a national function and cancellation could give a wrong signal.

There is another opinion that in view of the present situation, it could be scaled down.

The sources said the issue of Republic Day parade would also have to be discussed by the government with the president since he is the supreme commander of the armed forces.

They said even if the R-Day Parade is held, it has to be a scaled down since 80 per cent of the inputs including tanks, artillery, troops and communication and other logistics are all provided by the army.

In case the R-Day Parade is cancelled, it will be the first time in India's history.

The sources said the deployment of troops along the borders is more elaborate than that during the 1999 Kargil conflict and added it is the first time since the 1971 Indo-Pak war that this kind of troop movement has taken place.

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(c) Copyright 2001 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

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