New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Sunday (January 26), pais homage to the fallen soldiers at the newly built National War Memorial (NWM) at the India Gate. This event, by the Prime Minister, comes ahead of participating in the 71st Republic Day celebrations.

Republic Day parade deputy commander Major General Alok Kakkar said this is the first time the Prime Minister of the country is laying a wreath at the NWM on the occasion of the Republic Day.

The NWM, which was inaugurated in February last year by PM Modi, has been built in memory of the soldiers who laid down their lives for the country post-independence.

"Prior to the commencement of the Parade, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead the nation in paying solemn tributes to the martyrs by laying a wreath at the National War Memorial at the India Gate," an official statement read.

"After the Prime Minister lays the wreath, the Guard Commander will give Salami Shastra - Present Arms and Shok Shastra - Reverse Arms. The buglers will sound the 'Last Post'. After the 'Last Post', a two-minute silence will be observed," the statement added.

Wing Commander Vipul Goyal of the Indian Air Force will command the Inter-Services contingent. The Army contingent will be led by Capt Soham Satpati, and the Navy by Lieutenant Commander Phani Sushanth. Squadron leader Rajesh will lead the Air Force contingent.

The Prime Minister and other dignitaries will drive to the saluting dais.

PM Modi will be received at the Republic Day celebration by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the three Services Chiefs, Deputy Commander Major General Alok Kakkar had earlier told reporters.

Kakkar had added that 16 marching contingents from Army, Navy, Air Force and Paramilitary forces would take part along with 31 bands overall.

Also, the Army Air Defence Corps will for the first time take part as a marching contingent while the Signal Corps contingent would be led by Captain Tanya Shergill, who is a fourth-generation Army officer.