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The floating platform has hosted 11 NDPs since 2007. It will be replaced by NS Square, a permanent structure expected to be completed by end-2026, whereupon it will be the primary venue for future parades.

Wednesday was also the first time since 2019 that the parade and ceremony segment of the NDP had full-scale physical marching contingents, comprising 1,700 participants from the military, civil defence, youth uniformed groups and various social and economic groups.

Making its inaugural NDP appearance was the Digital and Intelligence Service, the fourth arm of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), which formed one of five guard-of-honour contingents.

It was also the last NDP for President Halimah Yacob, whose six-year term as head of state ends on Sept 13.

She received a rousing welcome as she arrived, shortly after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and later inspected the marching contingents commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Ragumaran Davindran – the first Army supply officer to be given the role.

A 21-gun presidential salute was fired from 25-pounder artillery guns stationed on military rafts near Merlion Park, and a video montage of Madam Halimah’s past NDP involvements as president was later shown as the crowd waved their national flags in tribute. NDP 2023: Full-scale contingents return to the Padang as S’pore turns 58

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