74th Republic Day: All-women contingent, Indian-made machinery among many firsts
The 74th Republic Day Parade today in Delhi was marked by many firsts. For starters, the march took place on the Kartavya Path for the first time since it was revamped from a colonial-era ceremonial boulevard previously called Rajpath. For the first time, the parade was kicked off by an Egyptian Armed Forces contingent in the presence of their country's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
Why does this story matter?
- On this day in 1950, the Indian Constitution came into force two months after being adopted by the Constituent Assembly.
- The Republic of India, a union of states, is governed by the Constitution, which provides for a Parliamentary form of government, with a federal structure and certain unitary features.
- The parade showcases India's military strength along with its cultural diversity.
CRPF's all-women contingent, BSF's camel-mounted women squad
This year's parade's highlight was an all-women contingent of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). In a first for the country, the Rajasthan Frontier of the Border Security Force (BSF) presented the world's first camel-mounted women's squad. A woman officer led the Indian Navy's contingent, featuring three women and six Agniveers, from the first batch of the military's new ad-hoc recruitment scheme.
All combat machinery exhibited was indigenously-developed
In line with the motto of Atmanirbharta or self-reliance, no Russian-made tanks were displayed this time. The Army exhibited a range of indigenously-developed advanced combat machinery including the Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun, NAG Missile System (NAMIS), and Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicle. For the first time, 105-mm Indian field guns were used for the ceremonial salute, instead of the vintage 25-pounder guns.
Aircraft from all 3 wings of military came together
Aircraft from all three wings of the Armed Forces came together at the grand finale of the parade. As many as 45 aircraft participated in the flypast, including vintage and the most modern jets of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Though Rafale fighter jets have been part of the last two years' parades, for the first time, a quarter of the fleet participated.
Workers involved in construction of Central Vista, others invited
This year, the workers involved in the construction of the Central Vista, Kartavya Path, and the New Parliament Building were invited to the parade along with milk, vegetable, and street vendors, and were given prominent spots in the gallery.