The families of Major Varadarajan and Naik Singh, who showed exemplary courage in tackling terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, were honoured by the President at the Republic Day parade.

The awards were received by their wives at the 66th Republic Day celebrations, which was graced by US President Barack Obama.

Both the army men laid down their lives while battling groups of militants in separate operations in Shopian and Kupwara districts of Kashmir respectively.

READ MORE: Cultural heritage, military might on display at Rajpath
Major Varadarajan, who was an officer in the Rajput Regiment of the Indian Army, killed three terrorists in an encounter in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir in April last. However, he was badly hurt in the operation and later succumbed to injuries.

While leading a search operation in general area Gurdaji of Kupwara district in J and K on August 24, 2014, Naik Neeraj Singh came under heavy fire from terrorists.

Singh refused to be evacuated till he fell unconscious and was later evacuated. However, he succumbed to injuries.

PM Modi pays tribute to unknown soldier

The Republic Day celebrations began with Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to the unknown soldier at the India Gate war memorial.

After Modi laid a wreath at the eternal flame to the unknown soldier, the buglers sounded the Last Post and two minutes of silence was observed.

Modi then signed the Visitor's Book and headed back to the saluting base on Rajpath to welcome President Pranab Mukherjee and US President Barack Obama, the chief guest on the ocassion.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, and the three services chief were also present at India Gate.

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