The 70th Republic Day parade will be a dazzling display of 'Nari Shakti', led by the Assam Rifles contingent, besides a lone woman officer exhibiting bike stunts on Rajpath as part of the iconic daredevil team.
Addressing a press conference here Wednesday, Maj Gen Rajpal Punia, Chief of Staff, HQ Delhi Area, also said that four Indian National Army (INA) veterans, aged over 90 years, will also take part in the parade for the first time.
The artillery gun system M777 American Ultra Light Howitzers, recently acquired from the US and K9 Vajra, a self-propelled artillery gun will be new additions this year, he said.
Vajra is a symbol of the prime minister's Make in India initiative, Punia added.
"This Republic Day parade will also be an amazing display of 'Nari Shakti' (women power), as many contingents will be led by women, besides an all-women contingent of the Assam Rifles," he said.
Contingents of the Navy, Army Services Corps and a unit of Corps of Signals will all be led by women officers.
Asked if this Republic Day will see the largest participation ever of women in the parade, Punia, said, "Seeing the level of their involvement in this year's parade, with all-women Assam Rifles contingent, and other contingent leaders, it is the largest participation of women in the parade."
Major Khushboo Kanwar, 30, who will lead a contingent of the Assam Rifles, the oldest paramilitary force in the country, was brimming with pride.
"Leading an all-women contingent of the Assam Rifles is matter of great honour and pride for me. I am a daughter of a bus conductor from Rajasthan and if I can accomplish this any girl can fulfil her dream," she told PTI on the sidelines of the media interaction.
A full-dress rehearsal of the Republic Day parade was held here Wednesday.
Punia, also the Deputy Parade Commander in this year's parade, said, INA veterans will take part in a Republic Day parade for the first time.
"These veterans are aged between 90-100 years. INA soldiers had links with the British Indian Army, so they also have links with our legacy," he said.
Capt Shikha Surabhi from the Corps of Signals, will perform bike stunts alongside her male teammates, as part of daredevils, a major attraction every Republic Day.
"I am the first woman to be part of daredevils segment of the parade. It took a lot of practice to perfect the stunts. But I am proud of this accomplishment. Women can do anything," said the 28-year-old officer who hails from Jharkhand.
"I will perform a standing salute on a bike," she said.