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M777 howitzers, K-9 Vajra displayed for first time in R-Day parade

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K9 Vajra, the self-propelled artillery gun recently inducted in the Indian Army, rolled down the Rajpath during India's 70th Republic Day celebrations on Saturday. Photo: PTI

NEW DELHI (PTI): Artillery gun system the M777 Ultra Light Howitzers, procured from the US, and the K-9 Vajra were displayed for the first time during the 70th Republic Day parade on Rajpath, showcasing India's military prowess.

Transport Satellite Terminal (TST), Surface Mine Clearing System (SMCS) and Troop Level Radar were also exhibited as part of the Army's mechanised columns on the ceremonial boulevard.

The artillery gun system – M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers – recently acquired from the US, and K9 Vajra, a self-propelled artillery gun will be new additions this year, Maj Gen Rajpal Punia, Chief of Staff, HQ Delhi Area, had told reporters on Thursday.

Vajra is a symbol of the Prime Minister's Make in India initiative, Punia said.

Indian Army's procurement of M777 howitzers and K-9 Vajra, in the year gone by, were first major induction of artillery guns since Bofors guns were inducted in the mid 1980s.

The M-777 A-2 ultra-light howitzers (ULH), having a maximum range of 30 km, are manufactured by the BAE Systems.

Tank T-90, Ballway Machine Pikate, Akash launchers were also showcased in the mechanised columns.

India Saturday celebrated the 70th Republic Day with a grand military parade and exhibition of its history, cultural diversity and strategic weaponry at the Rajpath – the city's centrepiece boulevard – in the presence of thousands of spectators including foreign dignitaries and the country's top political and military brass.

South African President Ramaphosa was the chief guest at the 90-minute celebrations marking the anniversary of the day when the world's biggest democracy was declared a republic in 1950.

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