Prime Minister Narendra Modi will raise the national flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Sunday and host India's Olympic heroes at the ceremony as the country marks its 75th Independence Day with muted celebrations for the second year of the coronavirus pandemic.
For the first time, just as the flag is unfurled by the PM, flower petals will be showered at the venue by two Mi-17 1V helicopters of the Indian Air Force. After the showering of the flower petals, the Prime Minister will address the nation at around 7:30 am.
Tight security arrangements have been made in the national capital for the event and anti-drone defence systems have been deployed in sensitive areas, Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana announced.
Thirty-two athletes - who have won medals at the Olympics - and two officials of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) have been invited to participate in the celebrations at the Red Fort on Sunday, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra who created history at the recently-concluded Tokyo Olympics by winning the gold medal is one of the 32 athletes invited to participate in the celebrations but may not attend amid reports that he has high fever.
"Around 240 Olympians, support staff and the SAI and sports federation officials have also been invited to grace the Gyan Path in front of the ramparts," the Defence Ministry said.
India recorded its best-ever medal haul in the Olympics this year by scoring a total of seven medals - one Gold, two silver and four bronze.
A separate block has been created on the south side of the Red Fort's ramparts for Covid warriors such as health workers to honour them for playing a vital role in fighting the pandemic, the ministry said.
India is marking its 75th Independence Day as ''Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav'' under which a series of events have been organised across the country, the Defence Ministry said.
President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the nation on the eve of Republic Day, expressing grief at the deaths in the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.