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'Dhanush', Army Air Defence marching contingent to take part for first time in R-Day Parade

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Army commandos contingent followed by other groups march at Rajpath during the full dress rehearsal for the upcoming Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. Photo: PTI

NEW DELHI (PTI): India's military might and some of the state-of-the-art assets of the armed forces will be showcased during the Republic Day Parade on Rajpath, with artillery gun system 'Dhanush' and a marching contingent of the Army Air Defence set to take part in the ceremonial event for the first time, officials said on Thursday.

Besides, K9-Vajra, the anti-satellite (A-SAT) test conducted under Mission Shakti, and Air Defence Tactical Control Radar (ADTCR) of the DRDO will also be part of the parade.

India early last year had shot down one of its satellites in space with an A-SAT missile to demonstrate this complex capability, joining the elite club of countries – the US, Russia and China – which have such capabilities.

The Army will showcase many of its state-of-the-art assets during the majestic January 26 parade, and artillery gun systems Dhanush and Short Span Bridge system will make their appearance for the first time during the parade, Chief of Staff, Delhi Area, Maj Gen Alok Kacker, told reporters.

At a press conference, he also said, 16 marching contingents will take part in the parade from the armed forces, paramilitary forces, Delhi Police, NCC and NSS, along with 21 bands.

The 61 Cavalary, consisting of 52 horses, will be marching down the Rajpath as part of the mounted column.

Corps of the Army Air Defence has earlier participated in the Republic Day parade with its vehicular columns, but this time a marching contingent of the AAD will take part in the event for the first time, officials said.

On January 26, trailblazer officer Captain Tania Sher Gill will lead the all-men contingent of the Corps of Signals, making her "family of faujis" and the nation proud.

The 26-year-old officer of the Corps of Signals had recently created history by becoming the first woman Parade Adjutant to led all-men contingents during the Army Day function on January 15.

A motorcycle display by an all-women team of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will be another attraction this January 26 parade.

The Prime Minister will pay homage to fallen soldiers at the newly-built National War Memorial in New Delhi on the Republic Day instead of Amar Jawan Jyoti beneath the India Gate arch, officials said.

The iconic memorial in the India Gate complex behind the canopy was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 25 last year.

Amar Jawan Jyoti is symbolised by an inverted bayonet and soldier's helmet over it with an eternal flame burning beside it. It was built in 1972 underneath the India Gate arch to commemorate soldiers martyred in the Indo-Pak War of 1971.

Tri-Services chiefs pay respect on occasions of national importance like Independence Day, Republic Day at the Amar Jawan Jyoti.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the National War Memorial on January 26 morning before the commencement of the Republic Day Parade, and lay a wreath at the memorial in the presence of the three services chiefs and the Chief of the Defence Staff," a senior official of the Army said.

Lt Gen Asit Mistry, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area, will be the Parade Commander, Maj Gen Kacker will be the Parade Second in Command.

"In the mechanised columns, three T-90 Bhishma tanks, three Ballaway Machine Pikate, one Saravatra Bridge system, one five-metre Short Span Bridge system, three Dhanush gun system, three K-9 Vajra gun system, two transportable satellite terminal (TST), two Akash surface-to-air-missiles, will be showcased," Kacker said.

Leaders of some of the participating marching contingents – The Grenadiers (Maj Anirudh Nair), Kumaon Regiment (Capt Rahul Singh Kataria), Sikh Light Infantry or SIKHLI (Maj Anjum Gorkha), Para Regiment Centre (Maj Nikhil Kumar Maurya), Corps of Army Air Defence (Capt Vikas Kumar Sahu), were present during the press interaction.

"Since, I am leading, my challenge is to make sure the each and every member moves in perfect synchronisation. And, when me march together, it is actually our discipline and team work at display. We march with common heartbeat," said Maj Anjum Gorkha.

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