A 1st this R-Day: Only ‘Made in India’ weapons on display, Agniveers to join, woman to lead Navy contingent | India News


NEW DELHI: The 74th Republic Day Parade on Thursday will witness the Indian Army displaying only ‘Made in India’ weapons and equipment while even the vintage artillery with 25-pounder guns that traditionally fire the 21-gun salute will be replaced by 105 mm Indian field guns.
Other special features at the parade will be participation of a military contingent from Egypt and newly-recruited Agniveers, women soldiers as part of the BSF camel contingent and a woman officer as leader of the naval contingent of 144 sailors, showcasing the ‘Nari Shakti’. The Navy’s IL-38 aircraft, which served the sea force for over four decades, will fly into history with its last take-off for the parade.
Giving details of Thursday’s R-Day parade, Major General Bhavnish Kumar, Chief of Staff of Delhi Area, said, “The parade will start from Vijay Chowk at 10.30 am and the contingents will march right up to Red Fort.” During the pandemic, the traditional route of the parade till Red Fort was curtailed due to restrictions.
Maj Gen Kumar said, “The focus of this year’s parade is on ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ as most of the weapons systems that will be showcased at Kartavya Path have been indigenously made.” He said, “Besides the mechanised and mounted columns, there will be eight marching contingents of the armed forces this time. Of them, six contingents will be from the Army and one each from the IAF and Navy.” In all, there are 16 contingents, including from police and paramilitary forces. The indigenous 105mm Indian Field Guns will replace the British-era 25-pounder guns, which were used in the WWII, for the 21-gun salute. Though these desi guns were used during Independence Day last year, this is first time they will be used on the Republic Day.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has been invited to be the chief guest at celebrations. A 120-member military contingent from Egypt has already been rehearsing along with its Indian counterparts for the R-Day parade. Women officers will also be part of the contingents of Corps of Signals, Army Air Defence and Army Daredevils, Maj Gen Kumar said.
Speaking to TOI, Lt Dimple Singh Bhati, who will be jointly leading the Corps of Signals’ Daredevil Team, said, “Though the Daredevils have been part of the parade for the last 13 years, I am participating for the first time. I am a first-generation Army officer and feel honoured to be part of the parade. One of our team members, Havildar Mondal, will also try to break his own world record by climbing an 18.8-foot-long ladder mounted on a motorcycle”. Lt Dimple, who hails from Jodhpur, has been practising for the last one year to show her acrobatics on a 50 cc motorcycle.
Lt Chetna Sharma from Army Air Defence Corps told TOI, “I am part of the Akash missile defence system. It has two basic components — a missile launcher system and troop-level radar — that will be displayed.”
An engineering graduate in computer science from Karnataka, Lt Commander Disha Amrith, 29, will be leading the naval contingent. Amrith was part of the NCC’s R-Day team in 2008 and nurtured the dream of being part of the R-Day marching contingent. “It is an amazing opportunity that the Indian Navy has given me,” she said. Also for the first time, women soldiers guarding the desert border with Pakistan will be part of the BSF camel contingent.
IL-38, a maritime reconnaissance aircraft that served the Navy for nearly 42 years, will participate in the flypast for the first and last time. It will be among the 44 aircraft that will take part in the event. Nine newly-acquired Rafale jets, indigenously produced Prachand —a multi-role, light attack helicopter — will also be part of the flypast.
A total of 23 tableaux — 17 from states and UTs, and six from various ministries and departments — depicting India’s vibrant cultural heritage and economic and social progress will also be part of the majestic parade. The home ministry will display two tableaux — one each by the Narcotics Control Bureau and Central Armed Police Forces — while one each will be exhibited by the ministries of agriculture, tribal affairs, culture and CPWD.
At the Beating Retreat ceremony on January 29, the ‘biggest drone show in India’, comprising 3,500 indigenous drones, will light up the evening sky over the Raisina Hill, weaving myriad forms of national figures and events through smooth synchronisation. Also, for the first time, a 3D anamorphic projection will be organised during the Beating Retreat on the facades of the North Block and South Block.


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