From an all-women contingent to new additions in the weapons display, ThePrint lists five firsts to see this Republic Day.
New Delhi: India will celebrate its 70th Republic Day Saturday as the annual parade gets set to march down the iconic Rajpath in the national capital. On display will be the military might of the country, including an air show by the Indian Air Force.
The parade, of about 90 minutes, will start at 10 am with the National Salute followed by the Investiture ceremony.
As part of the celebrations, there will be a number of firsts at the parade.
All-women contingent of the Assam Rifles
For the first time in history, an all-women’s contingent of the country’s oldest para military force, Assam Rifles, will be marching down Rajpath. Around 33 per cent of the women soldiers in the force are from the North-east while the others are drawn from across the country. The lady officers are deployed by the Indian Army.
Some of the women jawans who will be part of the parade are kin of slain soldiers. These women joined the Assam Rifles following the death of their husbands in the line of duty, carrying forward their legacy.
Lady officer-led motorcycle stunts
One of the most enchanting bits of the annual parade is the tricks performed by the motorcycle-borne daredevils. This year, the motorcycle display by Corps of Signal will be led for the first time by a lady officer. Captain Shikha, a daredevil officer herself, will be standing on a moving bike and leading the contingent.
New martial tune
Sankhnaad, a martial tune created for the Indian armed forces, will be played for the first time. Martial tunes are meant to keep the soldiers going during war by building a sense of prowess and patriotism into them.
Presence of INA veterans
Four veterans of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army — Laltiram (98) from Chandigarh, Parmanand (99), Hira Singh (97) and Bhaagmal (95), all from Gurugram — will parade down the Rajpath. They will be in an open jeep. The INA initially comprised Indian soldiers the British Indian army captured in war.
Display of ULHs
As part of the weapons display, the Indian Army will showcase newly-inducted ultra light howitzers M777 and K9 Vajra tracked self propelled guns. These are the first artillery guns to be inducted into the Indian Army after the infamous Bofors in the late 1980s.
While the M777 are meant to be deployed along the northern borders facing China, K9 Vajra would be deployed in the western sector facing Pakistan in the deserts.
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