New Delhi: After a gap of three decades, the Indian Navy will fly its fighter jets over Rajpath during this year's Republic Day parade, even as the three forces get ready to bring out all-women contingents to the ceremony for the first time.
US-made P-8I long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft will lead the naval contingent.
Also showcased during the parade would be India's first supersonic fighter - the newly-acquired Russian-made MAG-29K. Two such fighter aircraft will take part in the ceremony. India had purchased 45 naval fighters from Russia to fly from the decks of INS Vikramaditya and indigenous carrier INS Vikrant, which is under construction. The first MiG-29K squadron was commissioned in Goa in August, 2013.
The Navy currently has six P-81 aircraft and two more will be received. The Navy is to likely to go in for four more.
This would be the first appearance of naval fighters on the Rajpath after a gap of almost three decades. In 1984, naval aviator Arun Prakash - who rose to become the Navy chief - flew with Sea Harrier jets over the Rajpath. That was the last time when naval combat aircraft came to the capital.
Meanwhile, in a bid to showcase women empowerment within the force, Army, Navy and the Air Force have been asked to include a contingent each of female personnel at the Republic Day where US President Barack Obama is scheduled to be the chief guest.
Since the forces have women of only officer-rank under their command, the contingent will be an all-officers one. Each of the woman contingent will comprise 148 officers. This is the first time that woman officers will take part in the ceremonial parade.