Woman fighter pilot, Rafale jets and soldiers in masks: Key things to watch for this year's Republic Day parade
India is all set to display its military might during the annual Republic Day parade on Tuesday amid the unprecedented times of coronavirus pandemic. This year's parade will be unique as many things have been curtailed due to the pandemic while it will also witness many firsts, including the participation of country's first woman fighter pilot and a flypast with Rafale jets.
Here is the list of key highlights of this year's Republic Day parade:
Woman fighter pilot
Flight lieutenant Bhawana Kanth will be a part of the Republic Day parade this year to become the first woman fighter pilot to take part in India's biggest ceremonial event on January 26. She will be a part of the Indian Air Force's (IAF's) tableau that will showcase mock-ups of the light combat aircraft, light combat helicopter and the Sukhoi-30 fighter plane.
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Flypast by Rafale jets
Along with 42 other aircraft, newly-inducted Rafale jets will also participate in this year's parade. These aircraft will be part of different formations during the flypast including 15 fighter jets, five transport aircraft, 21 helicopters and a vintage Dakota aircraft. A Rafale aircraft will fly with two Jaguars and two MiG-29 fighter jets in one of the formations at the flypast, which will wrap up with the Rafale carrying out another manoeuvre.
Soldiers in masks
Following the new norms of Covid-19, soldiers marching down the Rajpath will also be seen wearing masks along with spectators. The number of officials participating in the parade has also been reduced to 96. Earlier, there was a 12x12 contingent system which had 144 soldiers.
Bangladesh Armed Forces
At least 122 soldiers of the Bangladesh Armed Forces will be taking part in the parade. According to a press statement issued by the high commission of India in Dhaka, this is only the third time since Independence that a foreign military contingent has been invited to participate in the national parade.
In another first, a tableau of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is also set to wow spectators during the Republic Day parade. "This year we will be having our own tableau and its theme will be combat skills of CRPF in conflict zones," RK Yadav, inspector general (training) has said, according to ANI.
Schilika weapon system with woman commander
The upgraded Schilika weapon system will roll down in Rajpath for the first time this year in the Republic Day parade, led by the only woman contingent commander from the army.
Ram Mandir tableau
Uttar Pradesh's tableau will feature a replica of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, which is currently under construction. It will also display the culture, tradition and art related to the temple town.
Things that will be missing this year:
No chief guest
In more than five decades, this year's parade will be the first Republic Day parade to be organised without a chief guest. Before this, there were no chief guests during the Republic Day parade in 1952, 1953 and 1966.
No motorcycle stunts
One prominent event that that always draw cheers during the parade - stunts on motorcycles by the army and the personnel of the paramilitary forces – will also be missing this year.
No veterans’ parade
The veterans’ parade by ex-servicemen and women, too, has been knocked off the programme chart due to the pandemic, and so is the parade by recipients of the national bravery awards.
(With agency inputs)
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