Republic Day: Marching contingents reduced from 144 to 96
The contingents will be wearing different uniforms since independence and also carry weapons of those times.
Amid the spread of the new variant of Covid-19 throughout the country, the strength of marching contingents has been reduced from 144 to 96 during this year's Republic Day parade at Rajpath in the national capital.
Talking to media persons in virtual format, Chief of Staff Officer Delhi Area and Deputy Parade Commander Lt Gen Alok Kakkar said that the troops will be marching in 12 rows and 8 columns. This time, a total of 6 marching contingents from the Indian Army will be participating on the occasion of the 73rd Republic Day parade celebrations on January 26. The contingents will be wearing different uniforms since independence and also carry weapons of those times.
The first contingent will be of Rajput Regiment, wearing the uniform of 1950 and carrying .303 rifle, followed by Assam Regiment, donning their uniform from the 1960s with same guns. Then, the Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry troops will be marching down Rajpath in their 1970s uniform and 7.62 mm self-loaded rifle. The Sikh Light Infantry and Army Ordnance Corps would be wearing their current uniform along with a 5.56mm rifle.
The newly-inducted combat uniform will be donned by the Parachute Regiment contingent. The troops will be carrying Israel-origin Tavor rifles.
Major Varun Pratap Singh, contingent commander of the Rajput Regiment termed it an honour to be part of the Republic Day parade. "Wearing the new combat uniform at the Republic Day parade will be a proud moment for the elite force," Major Vishesh, Parachute Regiment’s contingent commander said.
Maj Gen Kakkar further stated that this time people will get to see a unique mix of vintage and new equipment in the mechanised column. The first one will be the armoured column in which a PT-76, one centurion tank, two Main Battle Tank Arjun MK-1 tanks, one APC Topas armoured personnel carrier, one BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle and two BMP-II infantry fighting vehicles will be shown to the public.
One 75/24 pack howitzer, two Dhanush howitzers, one PMS bridge-laying system, two Sarvatra bridge-laying systems, one HT-16 electronic warfare system, two Taran Shakti electronic warfare systems, one Tiget Cat system and two Akash missile systems will also be part of the mechanised columns.
Besides, one each marching contingent of the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force will be participating. There would be a total of 16 marching contingents, including four CAPF contingents, two NCC, one each Delhi Police and NSS. There will be two motorcycle display teams and two animal contingents. The motorcycle team will be from the BSF and ITBP while the animal contingents would be from 61 Cavalry and BSF camel.
In the Beating the Retreat ceremony, two new things have been added, Maj Gen Kakkar added.
There would be laser mapping protection on the north and south blocks of the Raisina Hills and a coordinated show of 1000 drones. They will display various shapes when there would be dark at Vijay Chowk. It would be held for the first time in India.