The 70th Republic Day parade will be a dazzling display of ‘Nari Shakti’, led by the Assam Rifles contingent, besides a lone woman officer exhibiting bike stunts on Rajpath as part of the iconic daredevil team.
Addressing a press conference here Wednesday, Maj Gen Rajpal Punia, Chief of Staff, HQ Delhi Area, also said that four Indian National Army (INA) veterans, aged over 90 years, will also take part in the parade for the first time.
“This Republic Day parade will also be an amazing display of ‘Nari Shakti’ (women power), as many contingents will be led by women, besides an all-women contingent of the Assam Rifles,” he said.
Contingents of the Navy, India Army Service Corps and a unit of Corps of Signals (transportable satellite terminal) will all be led by women officers.
The artillery gun system M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers, recently acquired from the US and K9 Vajra, a self-propelled artillery gun will be new additions this year, he said.
Vajra is a symbol of the prime minister’s Make in India initiative, Punia added.
Asked if this Republic Day will see the largest participation ever of women in the parade, Punia, said, “Seeing the level of their involvement in this year’s parade, with all-women Assam Rifles contingent, and other contingent leaders, it is the largest participation of women in the parade.”
Army sources said this is also the first time ever when the Gorkha Brigade is will participate as a contingent in the parade.
“The present Army chief is the president of this brigade. There are seven different Gorkha regiments which make up the Gorkha Brigade. The officer leading the brigade is Capt Abhaysheraz Sandhu, a third-generation soldier in the armed forces,” a source said.
Capt Shikha Surabhi from the Corps of Signals will perform bike stunts alongside her male teammates as part of daredevils, a major attraction every Republic Day.
“I am the first woman to be part of daredevils segment of the parade. It took a lot of practice to perfect the stunts. But I am proud of this accomplishment. Women can do anything,” said the 28-year-old officer who hails from Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh.