Many “Firsts” in this year’s Republic Day Parade

Based on inputs by Meeta Bhatnagar

This republic was indeed special as it had many “firsts” .

On display were Army’s newly acquired artillery guns and show case of big guns — M777 A2 ultra light howitzers, which were inducted into the Army last year from the US and K9 Vajra self-propelled guns, which are being manufactured by L&T under the Modi government’s ‘Make in India’ program.

Two defense projects of DRDO — Medium Range Surface to Air Missile and Arjun Armoured Recovery and Repair Vehicle — which are still under trial were also showcased at the parade for the first time along with the very new ‘surface mine clearing system’.

Its also for the first time that 32 transport aircraft was flying on bio fuel

Sankhnaad’— a martial tune created for the Indian armed forces — was played by three contingents for the first time in the parade

In fact, four veterans of INA (Netaji’s Army) will also participate in the parade for the first time

Women Power

Its for the first time India an all-women contingent, belonging to Assam Rifles, the country’s oldest paramilitary force of a paramilitary force participated in the parade. It was led by led by Major Khushboo Kanwar. The contingent is special as some of the women in the force are vir mahilas (widows of martyr soldiers) who are continuing the legacy of their husbands.

In another first, Lieutenant Bhavana Kasturi lead a contingent of Army Service Corps (ASC) comprising 144 men. The ASC, which handles the logistic support function of the Army, is participating in the parade after a gap of 23 years.

In another first, woman officer, Captain Shikha Surabhi, was made part of the Army’s daredevils motorcycle team. She performed the stunt by standing on the moving motorcycle and rode it in front of a team comprising 33 men riding on nine bikes in a pyramid formation.