New Delhi, Jan 20 (PTI) In a first for the Republic Day parade here, an all-women tri-services contingent from the Army, Navy and Air Force will march down the Kartyvapath, showcasing the seamless integration of Indian armed forces.
"I feel fortunate to get the opportunity to lead it. It is a proud moment for me as well as every member of the team," 26-year-old Captain Sandhya, who is leading the contingent, told PTI after a practice session.
The contingent mostly has Agniveers and some of the regular recruits. The team of 148 members has been in Delhi since early December to prepare for the historic moment, and before that, they practised at their respective places for two months.
"Despite the difference in drills and procedures of the three services, the contingent trained together as a cohesive unit with a common goal.
"The goal is to give our best, emanate Nari Shakti in every step we march," Captain Sandhya, who participated in the Republic Day parade in 2017 as an NCC cadet from Delhi Directorate, said.
She said that women soldiers coming from the Navy and the Air Force did find the task a little challenging initially since the drills and procedures are different in the three services.
"The first difference comes with the salute. In the Air Force, the hand angle is different as compared to the Navy and the Army. Similarly, the sword angle is also different. For instance, in the Army, it should be at 45 degrees. But we all have practised well and are ready for the full dress rehearsal on January 23," Captain Sandhya said.
She said women have a key role in the progress of the nation and have limitless potential.
"Women candidates were there in the paramilitary force leading from the front but now since the government has started inducting women soldiers in the defence services as well, I have got the opportunity to be a part of this historic day," she said.
"This is for the first time that women soldiers have gathered from three defence services and they will march on the Kartavya Path in this year's Republic Day parade," she said.
According to officials, the 75th Republic Day celebrations at the majestic Kartavya Path on January 26 will largely be "women-centric" with the central theme of India's democracy and its resolve to become a developed nation.
Among the many firsts will be 100 women artists with Indian musical instruments heralding the parade, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane said on Friday.
He said women marching contingents will form the major chunk of the parade.
"The best representation of women will be seen in this year's Republic Day parade," the defence secretary told reporters.
"With the themes of 'Viksit Bharat' and 'Bharat - Loktantra ki Matruka', the 75th Republic Day Parade at Kartavya Path on January 26 will be women-centric," he said.
Women space scientists of ISRO, yoga teachers (Ayushman Bharat), winners of international sports events and paralympic medalists will also attend the parade as special guests. PTI JP RT RT