Indigenous equipment set to be in focus at Republic Day parade

Updated on Jan 24, 2023 04:48 AM IST

The military gear that will feature in India’s biggest ceremonial event will include main battle tank Arjun Mk-1, quick reaction fighting vehicles, K-9 Vajra self-propelled guns, Akash missile systems and Nag missile system.

Egyptian contingent at full dress rehearsal
Egyptian contingent at full dress rehearsal

All army equipment to be showcased during the 74th Republic Day parade on Kartavya Path will be indigenous, reflecting the country’s focus on boosting atmanirbharta (self-reliance) in the defence manufacturing sector, said Major General Bhavnish Kumar, Chief of Staff, HQs Delhi Area, who will be the second-in-command of the parade.

The military gear that will feature in India’s biggest ceremonial event will include main battle tank Arjun Mk-1, quick reaction fighting vehicles, K-9 Vajra self-propelled guns, Akash missile systems and Nag missile system, he said. Lieutenant General Dhiraj Seth, General Officer Commanding, HQs Delhi Area, will be the parade commander.

An indigenous artillery gun - the Indian Field Gun - will be deployed for the ceremonial 21-gun salute, Kumar said, briefing reporters about the final line up of the parade after the full dress rehearsal.

Also read: Republic Day 2023: Parade timings and where to watch live telecast

The army fly past will involve two indigenous Dhruv advanced light helicopters (ALH) and two ALH weapon system integrated Rudra choppers, Kumar said. The parade will include a mounted column of 61 Cavalry, nine mechanised columns, six marching contingents, and three Param Vir Chakra and three Ashok Chakra awardees, he said.

As Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations, a 144-member marching contingent of that country will also take part in the parade. The members of the Egyptian marching contingent have been drawn from the army, air force, navy and air defence forces, Kumar said. This will be the fourth time that foreign soldiers are taking part in the Republic Day parade.

A French army contingent of 130 soldiers took part in the parade for the first time in 2016. Then French President Francois Hollande was the chief guest that year. A United Arab Emirates contingent took part in the parade in 2017 when the chief guest was from that country. A marching contingent of the Bangladesh army took part in the 2021 parade. The Bangladeshi contingent was invited at a time when the two countries were celebrating the golden jubilee of the birth of Bangladesh.

One of the highlights of the parade last year was the display of modern army weaponry alongside vintage equipment. The weapons showcased in 2022 included the surface-to-air Akash missile system, main battle tank Arjun, BMP-II infantry combat vehicles and Dhanush artillery guns, with the PT-76 and Centurion tanks, OT-62 Topas armoured personnel carrier, 75/24 towed gun and the Tiger Cat missile system offering a refreshing throwback to the 1960s and 1970s.

Also read: Massive traffic in Delhi due to restrictions for Republic Day Parade rehearsal

Before the parade begins, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead the country in paying tribute to India’s fallen braves at the National War Memorial, a monument dedicated to soldiers killed in post-Independence wars and operations.

The parade will last 90 minutes. It will feature a total of 16 marching contingents, including those from the armed forces, 19 bands and 27 tableaux, officials said. For the first time, women will form part of the Border Security Force camel contingent, they added, declining to be named. Three women officers will also form part of the army contingent at the parade.

The Indian Air Force fly past, one of the highlights of the parade, will feature 45 aircraft, including Rafales, Sukhoi-30s, Jaguars, C-130J special operations aircraft and Apache attack helicopters.

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