Mon, 26 January 2015
Hours before R-Day parade, body found in kiosk near Rajpath

Timeline  Refresh

23:26   Voices of Auschwitz: 87 people in my family died
As a young boy growing up in Venezuela, Tomas Lefkovits dreamt of capturing and torturing Nazis.

He was only 7 when he began stalking a man he'd spotted at the local swimming pool in Maracaibo because he was sure he'd found one.

Read this article HERE
23:07   Hours before R-Day parade, body found in kiosk near Rajpath
The body of an unidentified youth was today found inside a kiosk near Udyog Bhawan, which stands about 100-m away from Rajpath, the venue of the Republic Day parade, just a few hours before the event began, sendingsecurity agencies into a tizzy.

The deceased was said to be aged around 20 years and his body bore several injury marks, including a blunt-force wound to the head.

The body, which was discovered at around 4 A.M.,was immediately sent for post-mortem.

The body was discovered by an official of the bomb disposal squad as he was carrying out a last round of inspection before the high-profile event, where US PresidentBarack Obama was the Chief Guest, kicked off on Rajpath at 9  am.

It later emerged that the deceased had been working at the kiosk for the past few days. Police were yet to question the owner of the kiosk till Monday evening, said a source.

Image: An Indian Army officer walks on the Rajpath before the start of the Republic Day parade in New Delhi. Photographer: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
And here is a cartoon showing Laxman drawing himself drawing his common man pic.
22:30   Did govt hold back on display of military might: Manish Tewari
As India showcased its rich cultural diversity and military might with the US President Barack Obama watching today at the 66th Republic Day parade, Congress leader Manish Tewari questioned why the government did not display its strategic assets this time.

Citing a media report, the former Union minister wondered whether the usual list of display was maintained at this year's parade vis-a-vis India's weapon delivery systems.

"Was there a departure from norm in exhibiting the core & delivery systems of our N- weapons in R-Day Parade? If so why and  under whose pressure," Tewari said on Twitter.
22:26   Another Bodo militant wanted by Assam police held in Bengaluru
Another NDFB-S militant, wanted in connection with the violence in Assam in December last year, was arrested today, the police said. 

Sanju Bordoloi, 27, the organising secretary of National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Songbijit, was arrested from his hideout in the Electronic City based on specific inputs.

He is the second NDFB-S militant to be arrested here since last week after the detention of Birkhang Basumatary, also allegedly involved in the Assam violence, on January 23.

"The City Crime Branch arrested Sanju Bordoloi, son of Dim Wser Bordoloi, of Kamrup District in Assam, from Electronic City Police Station limits based on specific inputs," Deputy Commissioner of Police Abhishek Goel said in a statement.
22:21   Did govt hold back on display of military might, wonders Tewari
As India showcased its rich cultural diversity and military might with the US President Barack Obama watching at the 66th Republic Day parade, Congress leader Manish Tewari questioned why the government did not display its strategic assets this time. Citing a media report, the former Union minister wondered whether the usual list of display was maintained at this year's parade vis-a-vis India's weapon delivery systems. "Was there a departure from norm in exhibiting the core & delivery systems of our N-weapons in R-Day Parade? If so why & under whose pressure," Tewari said on Twitter.
22:18   The uncommon genius
Rajdeep Sardesai remembers his time with RK Laxman.... 

For the first six years and a bit of my professional life, the common man was an intrinsic part of my life. Every morning, a little after 9 am, two individuals would file into the Times of India office, almost like clockwork. One was close to 70, the other was just 23. The generation gap did not matter a jot: RK Laxman was very generous with his time and intellect with a young journalist who looked at him with awe and excitement. 

Read more HERE
22:17   Islamic State driven out of Syria
Kurdish fighters backed by intense US-led airstrikes pushed the Islamic State group almost entirely out of the Syrian town of Kobani, marking a major loss for extremists whose hopes for easy victory dissolved into a bloody, costly siege that seems close to ending in defeat. Fighters raised a Kurdish flag on a hill in the border town near Turkey that once flew the Islamic State group's black banner. 
21:30   The story behind RK Laxman's 'Gattu ke papa' and Asian Paints
There are legends about what an innovative little marketing company Asian Paints was in its early years. It was a small Indian-owned business battling it out with a line-up of international paint giants -- and one of its early breakthroughs, was to endow its brand with a consumer-friendly personality, at a time when paints were generally presented as industrial products. The person who played a key role in making that happen was, of course, RK Laxman. 

Read more HERE
21:15   Indian Army's moving tribute to RK Laxman
It's not often that the Indian Army takes to Twitter to pay their homage. However, following the demise of eminent cartoonist RK Laxman, the Indian Army posted a message on Twitter, paying homage to the legend. It wrote, "Gen Dalbir Singh & all ranks of the army pay our condolences on the demise of the cartoonist Shri RK Laxman."

They also posted an image along with the message. 
20:58   RK Laxman to be laid to rest at noon tomorrow
Noted cartoonist RK Laxman who passed away at the age of 94 will be laid to rest tomorrow at noon . Laxman was put on ventilator support after multiple organ failure. 

20:29   The uncommon man: R.K. Laxman (1924-2015)
"Since childhood I do not remember wanting to do anything else except draw," RK Laxman says in his autobiography, The Tunnel of Time. And he has done very little else in over five decades as a cartoonist. From objects that caught his eye as a child outside the window of his room, to "the pretentious dignity of Mrs Gandhi to the grumpy face of Narasimha Rao." Famous for his acerbic cartoons lampooning political figures, Laxman at one point said, "What politics is all about today. Blah-blah-blah. The day that stops and the quality of our leaders improve, I will have to retire and go away."

Read more HERE.
20:25   PM Modi expresses sorrow at Laxman's demise
My condolences to the family and countless well-wishers of a legend whose demise leaves a major void in our lives. RIP RK Laxman," tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on hearing of the passing away of the noted cartoonist. 
19:47   Prominent cartoonist Manjul pays moving tribute to RK Laxman
Cartoonist Manjul, known for his political cartoons, paid a moving tribute to RK Laxman, who passed away today owing to ill health at a Pune-based hospital. Laxman, 94, was most popularly known for his 'Common Man' series. 
19:43   Suhel Seth remembers the 'Common Man' Laxman
Suhel Seth took to Twitter and uploaded this caricature of himself that RK Laxman had drawn for him. He wrote in the tweet, "When I first met R K LAXMAN in Bombay in 1982 this is the sketch he drew of me."

Here's the image for you'll to see.. 
19:41   Twitter tributes pour in for RK Laxman
Farhan Akhtar: "The common man just lost its first citizen. RIP R.K Laxman."

Pankaja Munde: "The creator of Common man who never ridiculed poor n ordinary @rklaxman passes away. Thank You Sir for all the smiles and gentle humor. RIP."
Raja Sen tweets: "Dad just gifted me this last night. Fateful timing. Anything but common, RK Laxman. Draw In Peace."
19:37   Mamata pays tribute to 'Common Man' Laxman on Twitter
And the tweets following Laxman's demise pour in: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee tweeted, "Saddened to hear that the legendary cartoonist RK Laxman passed away a short while ago. May his soul rest in peace.'
19:29   The best of R K Laxman
The Times of India presents a collection a collection of R K Laxman's best cartoons. You can find them here
19:21   RIP #RKLaxman: Tweets begin to pour in
Tributes begin to pour in for cartoonist R K Laxman on Twitter:

Barkha Dutt tweets: In a way ironic but fitting that one of the most incisive chroniclers of the Indian Republic dies on Republic Day. Go gently, RK Laxman.

Omar Abdullah: India loses her preeminent Common Man. RIP #RKLaxman   
19:20   Eminent cartoonist R K Laxman dies
Eminent cartoonist R K Laxman dies at a Pune hospital at the age of 94.

Laxman, 94, was admitted to the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital  last week after suffering from a urinary infection that led to a multi-organ failure. His condition worsened on Sunday and he was put on life support.

Through his iconic character of 'the common man', Laxman had held a mirror to the society by creating satire targeting politicians for more than five decades. However, of late he had stopped sketching political cartoons.
19:07   Gujaratis are famous -- hotel, motel and Patel: Modi at CEO meet
Addressing the CEO summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a lighter note, "Gujaratis are famous -- hotel, motel and Patel." 

"Such a big country, such a big market but if Indians don't have purchasing power how can we import," asked PM Modi.

"Ease of doing business is big focus for the government. I'm addressing issues of climate, farmers and water. To do that, I need infrastructure," he added. "We need to focus on skill, scale and speed."

"I'm always available, will hear you out," PM Modi tells CEOs.
18:54   Excited about US and India investing in each other: Obama
Here is what POTUS said the CEO meet in Delhi:

"I am excited that not only is US investing in India but a lot of Indians are investing in US. There is a possibility of US bilateral investment treaty that will serve both countries well," he said.

"Modi and I are interested in smart regulation. There is a natural convergence between the 2 countries,"he added. 
18:26   Smile, Mr Modi!
Kal Penn tweets this selfie with Modi at the President's At Home do.

Actor Kal Penn accompaned President Barack Obama on his trip to India.
18:23   Obama meets India Inc at CEO summit
PM Modi, US president Barack Obama meet top CEOs . Adi Godrej, Ambani brothers at the meet.
Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif felicitates PM Narendra Modi on the occasion of the 66th Republic Day of India. 
Impressive BSF motorcycle stuntmen, but the man right in front must still be in pain. 
17:49   Vintage cannons roared to launch R-Day celebrations
Hidden in the backdrop of elaborate display of India's military prowess at the Republic Day parade were seven vintage cannons which fired the 21-gun salute to herald the unveiling of the celebrations.

The cannons roared in perfect synchrony, with the National Anthem saluting the President and the National flag, a feat they have been performing with incredible finesse for over five decades.

Each cannon is fired at an interval of around 2.25 seconds to encompass the entire length of the 52 seconds of the anthem in three successive rounds.

The artillery is maintained by the gunners of the elite 871 Field Regiment (SHINGO) and are kept at Delhi Cantonment. "Obsolete as they are, the cannons have consistently risen to every occasion when their services have been called for in post Independent India," a senior army officer of the regiment said. The vintage artillery is brought out only on a few selected days including Independence Day, Republic Day and Martyrs' Day.

The honour is also conferred to visiting Heads of States at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. "They are old British guns from the pre-Independence era passed on to us. The country now has modern defence ammunitions, so these guns have been preserved to be used for ceremonial functions. They are not capable of fighting war," the officer added.

Apart from performing the 21-gun salute, the seven cannons are fired twice on Martyrs' Day (Jan 30), a solemn occasion, to mark the start and end of the two-minute silence. The firing of the cannons are done in a controlled manner to maintain appropriate decibel levels.

"The propellant is loaded into the cannons and that is followed by the blank firing. The sound is produced due to the extreme pressure as the propellant burns and gases are produced," he said.

Interestingly, in pre-Independence India, the 21-gun salute was given to few selected rulers of princely states on the basis of prosperity rather than giving preference to military might.
17:39   Indian CEOs high on hope ahead of Obama meet
PM-Obama Indo-US CEO roundtable meet shortly at the Taj Palace.

Industrialist Adi Godrej collared at the meet says that the personal equation between the two leaders is very good, it is a very timely visit. The level of mutual investment and trade will rise tremendously, he says.
17:31   Modi-Obama record Mann ki Baat, tune in at 8 pm tomorrow
The much awaited "special" episode of the 'Mann ki Baat' radio address which will have Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama sharing their thoughts will be aired at 8 pm, tomorrow. 

The PM tweeted: ‎Sharing our 'Mann Ki Baat' during the recording of the radio programme. Tune in on 27th January at 8 PM IST for the special episode! #MannKiBaat #Radio #USA #India.

Advertisements put out by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in newspapers Monday said: "This month's 'Mann Ki Baat' will be a special one where our Republic Day chief guest US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will share thoughts together."

"Be a part of this memorable Mann Ki Baat programme, illustrating a special bond between India and the US," it said. Modi, who has addressed three episodes of 'Mann ki Baat' (from the heart) so far, had invited questions from listeners.

The address will be broadcast on the state-owned All India Radio and Doordarshan channels.

The address can also be heard on Vividh Bharti, FM Gold, and FM Rainbow radio.

The programme would also be live-streamed on the prime minister's official website. Official sources said Obama and Modi recorded the 'Mann Ki Baat' episode Sunday after their summit level talks at Hyderabad House.
17:16   For old time's sake
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party leaders today met US President Barack Obama.

The Congress delegation, which also included party Vice President Rahul Gandhi and former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, met Obama and his wife Michelle at ITC Maurya Hotel, where they are staying.

The Congress had yesterday reacted cautiously to the "breakthrough" in the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement saying it would have to see the fine print on whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi has addressed issues raised by the US within India's legal framework and sought details as to how the difficulties were overcome.
Michelle Obama, Pranab Mukherjee, PM Modi and Barack Obama pose at the Rashtrapati Bhavan At Home do. 
16:50   Obamas' meet-and-greet high tea at Rashtrapati Bhavan ends
With this the Obamas official engagement at Rashtrapati Bhavan will end.

Click on the image for a larger picture. 

The At Home meet has ended, barely 20 minutes at Pranab Mukherjee's party. This is the second time that the President has hosted the Obamas during this visit.

Pic: The Obamas meet Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and his wife Amruta.
16:39   Mera number kab aayega?
Indian CEOs queue up at Rashtrapati Bhavan during a banquet hosted in honour of US President Obama, last night. The line-up, fittingly, is led by Ratan Tata.
16:35   Mrs Ansari collars Obama
Vice president Hameed Ansari's wife Salma sits Obama down for a one-on-one. At the Republic Day meet she was seated next to Michelle Obama.

And no, the Obamas have not bitten into the crispy mutton puff, yet.

The CEO roundtable will be at the Taj Palace hotel.
16:30   Aloo matar samosa, mutton puff on the menu
On the menu for the At-Home do is aloo matar samosa, mutton puff, cheese-cucumber sandwich, chicken malai tikka, fish fingers, paneer wrap, anar bhog. It's a meet and greet informal meet where political leaders line up and the Obamas go around meeting them.

PM Modi speaks to Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis for a bit.

And then there is a section that is cordoned off which has media and VIPs. If Obama goes around shaking hands with everyone present here, he will be here all night.

In any case, corporate leaders will have to wait for a while. The CEO meet is at 5:45 pm.
16:20   Obamas at President Mukherjee's farewell tea party
PM Modi and Vice President of India Hamid Ansari arrive for the "At Home" Reception hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee. US President Obama and Michelle Obama arrive shortly after. Obama is being escorted by PM Modi.
16:04   Cheers, Madam!
Love this picture. President Mukherjee and Michelle Obama raise a toast at the banquet at the Rashtrapati Bhavan last night.

The main course included mustard fish curry, chicken korma, gushtaba, roast leg of lamb, mutton rogan josh (all non-vegetarian dishes) and kadhi pakori, dal raisina, achari paneer, chhole, haak ka saag, chaunka matar and bedmi aloo (all vegetarian dishes).

The menu included vegetarian and non-vegetarian tandoori platters, curd, saffron rice, papad, soup and a variety of Indian bread.

The desserts included malpua with rabri, date steam pudding.

Tea, coffee and kahwa were among the beverages served in the dinner.
15:59   Modi, Reagan and the Partition
The most significant foreign-policy document to emerge out of US President Barack Obama's visit to India -- "US-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region' -- makes interesting reading. It is about Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean -- and not the 'Indo-Pacific'. Does that make a difference?
15:56   Shame! Convict Jayalalithaa on Tamil Nadu tableau
It was AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa all the way on government floats on display at the Republic Day celebrations in Chennai on Monday. Almost every tableau had large images of Jaya, who had to quit chief ministership last year following conviction in a corruption case.

Jayalalithaa lost her Assembly seat and the CM post in September, 2014 after she was sentenced to a four-year jail term and slapped with a fine of Rs.100 crore in a disproportionate assets case by a court in Bangalore.

Click on the picture for a larger image.
15:48   Mubarak's sons freed
On a day when former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is in the news for his dubious sartorial sense (scroll down) his sons have been freed after nearly four years in prison, police confirm to BBC.
15:34   India, Pak troops exchange sweets on R-Day, violations can wait
Indian and Pakistani troops along the Line of Control (LoC) today exchanged sweets at three places in Jammu and Kashmir on the occasion of Republic Day.

A unit of 12 Infantry Brigade of the Army exchanged sweets with their Pakistan counterparts at Kaman Post in Uri sector on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Road, defence sources said.

They said sweets were also exchanged with Pakistani troops at Teetwal in Tangdhar sector of Kashmir and at Chakan-da-Bagh in Poonch Sector of Jammu region.

Despite ceasefire violations and infiltration bids from across the border, the exchange of sweets between army personnel of India and Pakistan along the LoC on their respective days of national importance has been a regular feature.

Click on the image for a larger picture.
US Congresswoman and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the meeting with PM Modi. 
15:23   Sonia, Rahul at ITC Maurya to meet Obama
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Vice president Rahul Gandhi and other senior party leaders arrive at the ITC Maurya to meet President Obama.

A meeting with Congress party leaders was not initially on US President Obama's agenda, made public so far. But it has been customary for US leaders, including the President, to meet leaders of the opposition parties during their India trip.

The White House, however, did not release the names of the Congress leaders who would be meeting Obama. The meeting is scheduled for 3pm and is closed for the press. 

Pic: This picture was taken at the President Pranab Mukherjee's banquet last night. The camaraderie that this picture seems to suggest, is a rarity. When PM Modi entered Parliament for the first time after he became PM, the two acknowledged each other with a cold namaste. The Obamas' presence seems to have mellowed the two leaders, for a bit, at least.
15:11   CEO meet next
The absence of several high profile American CEOs such as JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon, General Electric's Jeffrey Immelt and Boeing's Jim McNerney, who had accompanied President Barack Obama in his last visit to India in November 2010, may rob some lustre from the India-US CEO Forum meeting taking place today after a gap of two yearsBut, at least 30 business leaders from the US - including Indira Nooyi of Pepsico, Harold McGraw, Chairman McGraw Hill Financial and Ajay Banga, CEO Mastercard - have flown in to Delhi to attend the meetings.

At least 17 Indian CEOs will attend the US-Indo CEO forum, to be co-chaired by Cyrus Mistry of Tata Sons and David M Cote from Honeywell. Others on the forum from the Indian side include Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries Limited, his younger brother Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Group, Bharti chief Sunil Mittal, ICICI Bank MD & CEO Chanda Kochhar, Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka, Adani Group head Gautam Adani, Shashi Ruia, Chairman of Essar Group, Mahindra & Mahindra Chairman Anand Mahindra, Hari Bhartia, Co-chariman and and Director of Jubilant Life Sciences, Biocon Chairman and MD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Sudhir Mehta of Torrent Pharma.Modi and Obama will address the meeting, which has been organized by the US-India Business Council, led by Master Card CEO Ajay Banga, and Indian trade groups.
15:10   Team Obama calls on PM Modi
Members of the US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Senator Mark Warner, US Congressmen Joe Crowley and Ami Bera, accompanied by US Ambassador Richard Rahul Verma call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Click on the image for a larger picture.

And then there's a CEO meet next.
Members of US Congress Nancy Pelosi, Mark Warner, Ami Bera, and Joe Crowley, call on PM Narendra Modi.
14:26   Floats from non-BJP states go MIA at Republic Day parade
Majority of non-BJP ruled states like Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, were among the 13 states that went unrepresented in showcasing their heritage through tableaux at the 66th Republic Day celebrations here today.

Rajasthan and Punjab, where BJP is in power or shares power with its ally Shiromani Akali Dal, were surprisingly not among the 16 states that displayed their rich culture through their tableaux.

Some of the north-eastern states of Nagaland, Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram, besides Himachal Pradesh and NCT of Delhi also went unrepresented at the Republic Day celebrations in the national capital that saw US President Barack Obama as the first-ever American President to be the chief guest. No tableaux from among any of the Union Territories in the country rode past the Rajpath at the celebrations.
14:18   Up ahead: Meeting with Congress leaders
After attending the Republic Day parade at the majestic Rajpath, US President Barack Obama would meet Congress party leaders on Monday, the White House said.

A meeting with Congress party leaders was not initially on US President Obama's agenda, made public so far. But it has been customary for US leaders, including the President, to meet leaders of the opposition parties during their India trip. The White House, however, did not release the names of the Congress leaders who would be meeting Obama. The meeting is scheduled for 3pm and is closed for the press.

Obama will participate in the Republic Day celebrations as the chief guest at the invitation of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. First Lady Michelle Obama will also attend the celebrations.

After his meeting with Congress party leaders, Obama will attend a reception with President Pranab Mukherjee. In the evening, Obama will participate in a CEO roundtable at the Taj Palace Hotel with Modi and deliver remarks at a US-India business summit, said the White House.

Pic: Barack Obama looks on as President Pranab Mukherjee greets Michelle.
14:14   Indian media fawns over Obama, US media writes on Modi's abandoned wife
As Indian media fawns over Modi, this is what the America media posts.

On the Washington Post: "She's waiting for him, as she has been all her life. But when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi dined with Barack and Michelle Obama at a glittering banquet Sunday night, his wife wasn't by his side.Modi, 64, kept his teenage marriage a secret for decades during his political ascent and only last year admitted that his wife exists."

Read more
14:09   Dont let clichs mar the partnership
A measure of honest reserve would serve India's interests better and win Obama's respect. Read
13:45   Obama makes the most of India's Republic Day parade
The New York Times on India's Republic Day celebrations.

"On one level, of course, it was just a parade. But as President Obama watched marching military units pass by at India's annual Republic Day celebration on Monday, it served as a fitting geopolitical metaphor as well.

Overhead were Russian-made MI-35 helicopters and on the street in front of him were Russian-made T-90 tanks, a reminder of India's longstanding ties to Moscow dating to the Cold War. Yet it was Mr. Obama in the seat of the chief guest as he used his visit here to cement stronger relations between the United States and India."

Read more
Minutes before the Republic Day parade began, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force laid wreaths at 'Amar Jawan Jyoti,' the war memorial at India Gate. Thereafter, Modi wrote on the Visitors' Book. Seen behind Modi is Army chief Dalbir Singh.
13:36   For your tomorrow, they gave their today
And that moment during the R-Day celebrations that will always leave you teary-eyed.

President Pranab Mukherjee presents the Ashok Chakra (posthumous) to Indhu Rebecca, wife of Major Mukund Varadarajan, for anti-terror ops.

Major Mukund Varadrajan, 31, deployed his troops in Shopian on April 25 to surround three terrorists hiding in an outhouse in Qazipathri village. The terrorists had attacked poll officials earlier.

Meanwhile. another terrorist opened a burst of auto fire thereby seriously injuring Mukund who despite bleeding profusely crawled ahead, fired and neutralised the second terrorist.

"Maj Mukund of 44 Rashtriya Rifles along with his buddy Sepoy Vikram displaying raw courage crawled in proximity to the outhouse. The officer lobbed a grenade inside the cement outhouse killing one terrorist instantaneously," his citation says.

"The elimination of terrorist avenged the killing of the election officials within 24 hours and restored faith of public in democracy and the Army. Maj Mukund was evacuated but succumbed to his injuries," it said.

(Click on the picture for a larger image. )
Inch pinch. Former Egypt president Hosni Mubarak also wore a suit with his name woven on it.
13:11   Narendra Damodardas Modi woven into PM's pinstripe suit!
From neatly-cut and well-fitted bandhgala suits to his trademark half-sleeved kurta and brightly coloured Nehru jackets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is always known for his excellent sartorial tastes.

Except, may be this one time, yesterday.

Modi was spotted in a kurta-pyjama, Nehru vest and a bright red stole when he received President Barack Obama at Delhi's Palam airport on Sunday morning.

Later, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan ceremonial welcome accorded to Obama, Modi was seen wearing a pinstripe 'bandhgala' suit.

The suit, however, wasn't just a bandhgala. The pin stripes in fact had his name, 'Narendra Damodardas Modi' woven into the fabric. (See picture. Click on the picture for a large image.)

For the evening banquet, Modi opted for a bandhgala again but this time grey in colour. 

At the banquet hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee, Obama raised a toast to India and the PM saying he had wanted to wear a 'Modi kurta'.

Obama recalled a headline back home which asked who is the new fashion icon other than Michelle Obama and said "I was thinking of wearing a Modi kurta myself.' He appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying "he is tough and has a style."
Ratan N. Tata, who rarely tweets, posts this: Wonderful to see US & India come together in a bond of mutual friendship and trust. Both charismatic leaders deserve great credit and praise
12:57   Did these floats work for you?
Among the state's tableau, Gujarat and Karnakaka had particular appeal. While the home state of Prime Minister Modi showcased the ambitious project of building the 'Statue of Unity' symbolically represented by that of Sardar Vallabhahi Patel and the Sardar Sarovar Yojana, the southern state charmed everyone especially the kids with its tableau, huge scale-model, fashioned on the famed wooden toys of Channapatna, located in the outskirts of Bengaluru.

New-born state Telangana, making its Republic Day debut showcased its illustrious festival 'Bonalu', celebrated to worship Mahakali goddess in the month of Ashada. For Jammu and Kashmir, the dazzling beauty of the region was displayed through Rouff dance of Kashmir, flower dance of Ladakh and Kud dance of Jammu regions.
12:44   What the Obamas will do the rest of today
3 pm: Obama meets with Congress Party Leaders at ITC Maurya Hotel, New Delhi, India

4:05 pm: The Obamas attend a reception with President Mukherjee at
Rashtrapati Bhawan.

5:35 pm:  Obama and PM Modi participate in a CEO roundtable at the
Taj Palace Hotel.

6:40 pm  Obama and Prime Minister Modi deliver remarks at a US-India business summit at the Taj Palace Hotel.

Pic: Michelle Obama enjoys the R-Day function. You never know where the cameras are placed. 
Proud! Lt Haobam Bella who was assigned the duty of unfurling the national flag. 
Mamata Banerjee must be getting voodoo dolls made of a certain Mr Modi made. 
12:38   Bengal tableau Kanyashree NOT allowed for R-Day; Mamata's pet project
And the missing state government tableau on R-Day? West Bengal.

TMC MP Derek O Brien tweets: "Tableaux for republic day depicting path breaking Kanya Shree initiative was not allowed. Bengal government repeatedly requested for this."

The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government launched the Kanyashree programme in 2013 to prevent child marriage. The scheme has two parts-a one-time payment and an annual scholarship. The scheme will be available to families with an annual income of Rs 1.2 lakhs. The one-time payment of Rs 25,000 will be offered to the girl who is part of the education scheme and is not married off below the age of 18 years.

12:31   Who was 2014 R-Day chief guest?
While this Republic Day should have excellent recall value, here's a quiz -- Who was the chief guest at last year's R-Day?

We'll save you the trouble of Googling it -- it was Japan PM Shinzo Abe.

Read this
12:25   And so it ends...
Among the state's tableau, Gujarat and Karnataka had particular appeal. While the home state of Prime Minister Modi showcased the ambitious project of building the 'Statue of Unity' symbolically represented by that of Sardar Vallabhahi Patel and the Sardar Sarovar Yojana, the southern state charmed everyone especially the kids with its tableau, huge scale-model, fashioned on the famed wooden toys of Channapatna, located in the outskirts of Bengaluru. New-born state Telangana, making its Republic Day debut showcased its illustrious festival 'Bonalu', celebrated to worship Mahakali goddess in the month of Ashada. For Jammu and Kashmir, the dazzling beauty of the region was displayed through Rouff dance of Kashmir, flower dance of Ladakh and Kud dance of Jammu regions.

So, which tableau did you like best? Tell us.

Pic: A boy holds up a banner holding a poster that echoes the sentiment of many Indians.
12:17   US, Russia fly by
And if this isn't symbolic, what is? A US-built C-17 flanked by 2 Russian Su-30 MKIs at the R-Day celebrations.
The three chiefs of staff at the Republic Day parade. 
12:09   R-Day function ends
President's Guards return to escort the President back to Rashtrapati Bhavan. But before that the National Anthem.

And India's 66th Republic Day celebrations draw to a close on a cold, rainy day in Delhi.

Pic: President Obama watching the R-Day function.
12:04   Awesome flypast
The best and most awaited part of the Republic Day celebrations -- the flypast.

Five Mig-29 Air Superiority Fighters called the Tridents fly in Fulcrum style. Five Jaguars thunder in the skies in Arrowhead formation over Rajpath.
In what is clearly a first for American audience, the US-made C-17 was escorted by Russian-made Su-30s!
Tunku Varadarajan tweets: Two hours later, Barack Obama is thinking, what on earth possessed me to say yes... to the Indian Republic Day celebrations.
11:56   Mobile, Internet services not disrupted in Kashmir on R-Day
For the first time in a decade, mobile phone and mobile Internet services were not disrupted in Kashmir Valley as part of the security drill for Republic Day celebrations.

Mobile phones and Internet services on mobile devices were not snapped when the Republic Day parade began at Kashmir's main venue Bakshi Stadium and other district headquarters.

It is for the first time since 2005 that mobile phone and Internet services have not been snapped as part of the security drill in Kashmir.

The security agencies added this step to the security drill after militants triggered a blast outside the Bakshi Stadium during the Independence Day parade in 2005.

The authorities have been clamping down on mobile services in times of trouble in Kashmir. The government had imposed a ban on SMS services in the state following the 2008 Amarnath Land Row agitation, 2010 summer agitation and post hanging of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru.

While the SMS services were restored on post-paid mobiles within months, the ban on this service on pre-paid mobiles was only lifted in May last year.
11:54   Dogs day out: R-Day's cutest formation ever!
Probably the cutest formation ever. Sniffer dogs at the Republic Day do their bit. 
Jaanbaaz, the motorcycle display by the Border Security Force a major attraction of the parade always.
Michelle Obama in conversation with Salma Ansari, the wife of the vice president Hamid Ansari. 
And if you believe in omens -- Rohit Bansal tweets: So symbolic when Constitution was being signed, it was drizzling. was interpreted as good omen.
Cringeworthy tableaus as usual, except may be for the Make in India one.
11:21   Eww! Obama caught on camera popping chewing gum back into mouth
Nothing, absolutely nothing escapes the cameras.

President Brack Obama, the chief guest of the Republic Day celebrations, was caught on camera, removing his chewing gum, and then popping it back into his mouth.

In November, Obama was slammed on social media in China for chewing gum at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit held in Beijing.

All that, while he was talking to PM Modi.

These are the tweets on POTUS' chewing gum.

Shobhaa De tweets: Barack bhai working his jaws overtime and chewing gum! At least it isn't gutka. But seriously - gum during a formal parade?

Shashank Bengali tweets: Obama is working that chewing gum, straining valiantly against jet lag, this sleep-inducing weather and now the tableaux of states...

Nitin Gokhale tweets: Pl remember each of the participant does more than a month of back breaking rehearsal in biting cold getting up every day at 3 am. Remarkable
Google celebrates India's 66th Republic Day with this doodle.
11:14   Are you in the picture?
Police have also installed around 80 face-recognition cameras around the venue of Republic Day celebrations and at the city's entry points to identify any subversive or criminal elements.

Spectators have been made to pass through a stringent multi-layered security check to be able to watch the parade and they were not allowed to carry any electronic gadgets to the venue.

The 80,000-strong Delhi Police force assisted by another 20,000 drawn from para-military forces and state armed police were on vigil for last few days to prevent any untoward incident in the city. Specialised canine units of Indian paramilitary forces were deployed along with team of seven Belgian 'Malinois' dogs of the US Navy Seals which are accompanying the security personnel of the US.
And in NYC, the Empire State Building lit for India's R Day.
Very smart marching contingent from the Railway Protection Force. Followed by Delhi Police Band, behind them Delhi Police marching to Kadam Kadam badhaey jaa.
Khusbhoo Narain Joshi from Mumbai leading the NSS band.
And Sonia Gandhi watches India go by. Rahul seems MIA 
Indian Coast Guard,Central Reserve Police Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police,Central Industrial Security Force, Sashastra Seema Bal to follow
10:51   World's only camel mounted band
And the BSF camel mounted band walks past playing 'Hum hai seema suraksha bal'.

India is the only country on the world have a camel mounted band.

Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Gursharan Kaur in the VIP enclosure.
50 yrs of 1965 war is the theme of the tableaux of the Indian Air Force. The IAF aircraft those that proved their prowess in the 1965 War -- Gnat Vampire Canberra bomber, MI-4 chopper and Packet transport aircraft.
On Twitter, reaction to this picture:

Obama: Is that the guy from Russia that gave you this weaponry?
Modi: No No. It's just cold.That's Pranab Mukherjee.
President Obama is probably thinking:"that's a lot of Russian equipment I am watching a day after slamming Moscow."
10:40   Nari Shakti at R Day
Indian navy's all-women contingent marches down Vijay Chowk. Nari shakti is the theme of this year's parade.

Followed by the Air Force officer's contingent by Sq Leader Sneha Shekhawat.
10:36   And yes, this is a no fly zone
The Director General of Civil Aviation has issued a 'NOTAM' (Notice to Air Men) for diverting all flights flying over Delhi at the time of the parade.

Earlier, planes flying above 32,000 feet did not fall in the category of no-fly zone, but now the height has been raised to 35,000 feet, the sources said.

No plane will be flying within a radius of 400 km of Rajpath as against 300 km on earlier occasions, they said. This means airports adjoining Delhi like Jaipur, Agra and as far as Lucknow or Amritsar will not operate flights when the function will be on in the national capital.
10:34   Unprecedented security cover over central Delhi
A seven-layer security ring has been thrown around the VVIP enclosure on Rajpath from where Obama, President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of other dignitaries witnessed the grand parade.

Central Delhi has turned into a virtual fortress with nearly 40,000 personnel drawn from Delhi Police and paramilitary forces guarding every nook and corner of the area.

More than 15,000 CCTV cameras installed have been relaying every movement live to a central control room where the footage has been monitored by a joint team of Delhi Police, US Secret Services and sleuths of central security agencies.

The three-km stretch of Rajpath has over 160 CCTV cameras - with one camera installed at every 18 metres.

Pic: Pranab Mukherjee at the R-Day function
10:30   Light rains through the day: Met
Michelle Obama is holding her own umbrella, while President Pranab Mukherjee has an umbrella held over his head. Obviously, he can't salute and hold the umbrella at the same time.

Rain playing spoiler. The Met department predicts light rains through the day.
10:28   Proud moment for India, all-women contingent takes salute
Loud cheers for the women officers contingent of the army. The army, navy and air-force all have women contingents. The contingent of all-women officers led by Captain Divya, first woman cadet to be awarded Sword of Honour.
Mobile Autonomous Launcher of BRAHMOS missile system. Capt Chandni Mishra salutes.
Since the eulogy to Major Varadarajan was read in Hindi, PM Modi leaned in and translated it for Obama. The VVIPs are seated behind a bulletproof enclosure but does not have a cover. Umbrellas are out. Let's hope the January sunshine makes a comeback.
10:21   Ashok Chakra for Major Varadarajan
"As a mother, I wanted him to be near me and not live where danger lay.

''My son was so sure about where he wanted to be, and he was so happy to wear the army uniform and work for the country.

"Before any major operation, he would tell me, "Please pray for me, Amma, but don't ask me why"

Shobha Warrier/ meets the parents of Major Mukund Varadarajan who was killed during an operation against terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir on April 25, 2014.

He was awarded the Ashok Chakra, India's highest award for courage in peacetime, for his supreme sacrifice.His wife Indu received the award.
Lt. Gen Subroto Mitra, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area is the parade commander. Major Gen Abhay Krishna is the parade Second-in-Command.
10:15   Helicopter flypast begins
Helicopter flypast begins. It is still drizzling in Delhi, but the IAF has said that the flypast will take place.

President Pranab wears a woollen cap to keep out the cold, wet Delhi winter as he takes salute.
Rahul Pandita @rahulpandita This can only happen in this country. At least offer the dignity of an umbrella to the family members of the fallen soldiers.
Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh also receives the Ashok Chakra. Presented posthumously to his wife.  
10:08   Ashok Chakra awards being presented
Flag unfurled, the national anthem plays on the Rajpath, the booming of the 21 gun salute in the background also begins.

The Ashok Chakra is being presented posthumously to Major Mukul Vararajan. His wife Indu Varadarajan receives the honour.
The song, or hymn, Ata swagatam shubha swagatam, played as the President's cavalcade arrives on Rajpath escorted by the President's Guards.

Obama is flanked by the PM and President Mukherjee. 

The national anthem is played.
10:02   President Pranab Mukherjee arrives
The Beast arrives bringing the Chief Guest, US President Barack Obama. He is greeted by the PM. Michelle Obama wears a black woollen dress with a bright red scarf and black boots. It's a wet, cold and foggy morning in Delhi. Modi is wearing a bandhgala and a multicoloured turban.

President Pranab Mukherjee arrives at the dais. He is welcomed by the PM He meets the chiefs of staff and defence minister Manohar Parrikar.
That's the PM and the chiefs of staff at the Amar Jawan Jyoti.
09:56   President Obama arrives to a standing ovation, cheers from crowd
After laying the wreath the PM will head to the 'salami manch' or saluting base, but he won't be taking the salute. Only the President can take the salute. The President is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and will arrive after the PM.

President Obama and Michelle Obama arrives at the salami manch
The PM signs the book at the India Gate and heads to Rajpath. 
09:44   PM, Chiefs of staff pay homage at India Gate
Behind the PM is the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Robin K Dhowan who took over in 2014. The there is the Chief of the Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh. He became chief in July 2014 and therefore like the PM, this is his 1st time at India Gate.
09:43   2-minute silence at Amar Jawan Jyoti as the nation pays respect
The PM in a black sherwani and a bright multicoloured turban lays the wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti. A two-minute silence follows. The nation pays its respects to the martyred soldiers.
OK, IAF says flypast will go ahead as scheduled. 
09:41   PM Modi lays a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti
The PM's carcade travels via Rajpath to India Gate to pay respects to the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial. The PM's cavalcade goes from Vijay Chowk to India gate where the solemn ceremony will take place, a tradition started by Indira Gandhi. Four urns holding the eternal flames burning bright at India Gate. He will lay a wreath and salute. The haunting Last Post is played now.
09:37   What Obama's day looks like
This is what Obamas schedule looks like today.

10:00 am: The Obamas participate in the Republic of India Day Parade at Rajpath.

3 pm: Obama meets with Congress Party Leaders at ITC Maurya Hotel, New Delhi, India

4:05 pm: The Obamas attend a reception with President Mukherjee at
Rashtrapati Bhawan.

5:35 pm:  Obama and PM Modi participate in a CEO roundtable at the
Taj Palace Hotel.

6:40 pm  Obama and Prime Minister Modi deliver remarks at a US-India business summit at the Taj Palace Hotel.
09:32   And in Mumbai, iconic CST celebrates the republic
Indian Railways celebrates the 66th Republic Day through its iconic heritage station. 
09:29   R-Day parade to be broadcast live around the world for the first time
This is the first time that an US president is the chief guest at a Republic Day parade. The Indian administration had tried to get the Clintons to attend when Bill Clinton was US president but the talks didn't go anywhere.

Also, for the first time, the Republic Day parade will be telecast live for Indian and international audiences on the channels Colours and Rishtey, with the feed originating from Doordarshan.

Both Colours and Rishtey are owned by the Viacom 18 group. The telecast is aimed at international audiences, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom.
09:21   Rain in Delhi may wash away Air Force flypast at Republic Day parade
Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of India's 66th Republic Day function, where President Barack Obama will be chief guest this morning.

You know that. What you may not know, is that it's raining in Delhi. Which means that Indian Air Force flypast, a highlight of the parade, might be cancelled.

Moreover, the thousands who have braved the Delhi winter to get seats at the parade will be soaked to their skin because security measures forbid carrying umbrellas.
08:49   Google Doodle celebrates India's 66th Republic Day
As India celebrates its 66th Republic Day on Monday, Google marked the occasion with a colourful doodle on its India homepage.

The doodle shows a tableau decorated with flowers passing through the Rajpath as part of the annual Republic Day parade. Showcased on the tableau are India Gate and the Rashtrapati Bhawan, and the path between the two monuments.

A man and a woman, colourfully dressed in Indian attire, are seen waving to the audience from the tableau, while three others walk along.

Also inscribed on the tableau in yellow colour is the Google logo.
08:46   PM Modi greets nation on Republic Day
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday greeted the nation on the occasion of 66th Republic Day.

In an early morning tweet, PM wrote: "Greetings to everyone on Republic Day."
00:38   Obama and Modi agree to limit US liability in case of nuclear disaster
US industrial interests took centre-stage at the start of Barack Obama's visit to India as he and the prime minister, Narendra Modi, outlined a deal to limit the legal liability of US suppliers in the event of a nuclear power plant catastrophe. 

After pressure from US diplomats, the Indian government was thought to have agreed a state-backed insurance scheme that would cap the exposure of nuclear suppliers and open the door to billions of dollars of new contracts. India will also allow closer tracking of spent fuel to limit the risk of it falling into terrorist hands.

Read more HERE
00:08   Second attempt to retrieve AirAsia fuselage fails
The latest attempt to raise the fuselage of the Air Asia Flight QZ8501 has failed as a rope attached to the lifting balloons broke. Strong currents are proving to be the main obstacle in retrieving the fuselage, according to navy spokesman, Manahan Simorangkir. "We could not fight against nature," he said. "We just hope the weather will change and be conducive."