New Delhi: The national capital witnessed a spectacular presentation of discipline and grit as Army contingents and other personnel marched on the Kartavya Path on the 74th Republic Day. President Droupadi Murmu unfurled the national flag at Kartavya Path, which was followed by the national anthem and 21-gun salute.
The parade started with Parade Commander, Lieutenant General Dhiraj Seth, a recipient of Ati Vishisth Seva Medal, marching down the Kartavya Path, followed by the Parade Second-in-Command, Major General Bhavnish Kumar. The proud winners of the highest gallantry awards — the Param Vir Chakra and the Ashok Chakra — followed the Parade Commander. Subedar Major (Honorary Capt) Bana Singh, Param Vir Chakra (Retd), 8 JAK LI Subedar Major (Honorary Capt) Yogender Singh Yadav, Param Vir Chakra, 18 GRENADIERS (Retd) Subedar Major Sanjay Kumar, Param Vir Chakra, 13 JAK RIF. The Param Vir Chakra is awarded for the most conspicuous act of bravery and self-sacrifice in the face of the enemy. The Ashok Chakra is awarded for similar acts of valour and self-sacrifice but, other than, in the face of the enemy. The Ashoka Chakra awardees include Maj Gen CA Pithawalla, Ashok Chakra (Retd), Colonel D Sreeram Kumar, Ashok Chakra, Lt Col Jas Ram Singh, Ashok Chakra (Retd).
For the first time, an Egyptian Army contingent led by Colonel Mahmoud Mohamed Abdel Fattah El Kharasawy marched on Kartayvta Path. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was the Chief Guest on the occasion. The military parade group of the Egyptian Armed Forces consisted of 144 soldiers representing the main branches of the Egyptian Armed Forces reflecting the greatness of the Egyptian state and its pride in its ancient history.
Following this, the first contingent in the uniform of the 61 Cavalry, led by Capt Raizada Shaurya Bali, marched on the Kartavya Path. Raised in 1953, the 61st Cavalry is the only serving active Horsed Cavalry Regiment in the World, with the amalgamation of all the ‘State Horse Units’. The Regiment has won 39 Battle Honours and stands tall in Equestrian and Polo with 1 Padma Shri, 1 Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak, 12 Arjuna Awards, 06 Vishisht Seva Medals, 54 Chief of Army Staff Commendation, 1 Chief of Air Staff Commendation, 2 Chief of Staff Committee Commendation, 2 Chief of Naval Staff Commendation, 8 Vice Chief of Army Staff Commendation, 8 Chief of Integrated Defence Staff Commendation, 1 Vice Chief of Naval Staff Commendation and 191 General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Commendations.
Mechanised Infantry Regiment, commanded by Capt Harshdeep Singh Sohi, was the next to follow after the advanced light helicopters’ fly past. The Mechanised Infantry, dubbed as ‘Tomorrow’s Regiment in Today’s Army’, is the youngest regiment of the Indian Army. The Mechanised Infantry Regiment has the singular distinction of having been awarded 3 Param Vir Chakras, 5 Ashok Chakras, 12 Maha Vir Chakras, 3 Kirti Chakras and 55 Vir chakras, besides a multitude of Sena Medals.
The Combined Band of Armoured Corps Centre & School, Parachute Regimental Centre, and Rajputana Rifles Regimental Centre, comprising 100 musicians, was the next to follow. The band was led by Sub Rajender, Rajputana Rifles Regimental Centre, and assisted by Naib Risaldar Mantu Mondal of Armoured Corps Centre & School and Subedar Rajender Singh of Parachute Regimental Centre. The next contingent marching was the Punjab Regiment led by Capt Aman Jagtap of 23 Punjab Regiment, Longewala. The Regiment has to its credit 53 Battle Honours, which includes 43 from Pre-Independence era and 10 Post-Independence period. Punjab Regiment has to its credit a total of 2,329 honours and awards and it is one of the highest decorated Regiments of the Indian Army.
The next contingent was of the Maratha Light Infantry led by Capt Shashwat Singh Dabas of the Second Battalion of Maratha Light Infantry, also known as Kali Panchwin. The Maratha Light Infantry is one of the oldest and most decorated Regiment of the Indian Army. Its glorious history spans over 254 years. The men draw their inspiration from the leadership qualities and indomitable fighting spirit of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the great Maratha military genius. Today the Maratha Light Infantry had 21 active Battalions, four Rashtriya Rifles Battalions and two Territorial Army Battalions. It also had 2 PARA, 21 PARA (Special Force), 34 Field Regiment, 36 Medium Regiment, 10 Mechanised Infantry, INS Mumbai, 20 Squadron Air Force and Indian Coast Guard Air Station, Daman affiliated to the Regiment.
The post-Independence distinction earned the Regiment 16 Battle and Theatre honours’ and 2373 Gallantry awards; which include five Ashok Chakras, five Mahavir Chakras, 15 Kirti Chakras, four Uttam Yudh Sewa Medals, 44 Vir Chakras, 64 Shaurya Chakras, 14 Yudh Sewa Medals and 430 Sena Medals. Next to follow was the Combined Band of Rajput Regimental Centre, SIKH Regimental Centre and SIKH LI Regimental Centre comprising of 100 Musicians. The band was led by Subedar Kulwant Singh of SIKH Regimental Centre and assisted by Naib Subedar Jatinder Singh of SIKH LI Regimental Center and Havildar Laxman Singh of Rajput Regimental Centre.
The next contingent was of the Dogra Regiment, which was led by Capt Varun Singh of the 21st Battalion of Dogra Regiment. The Dogra Regiment is an Infantry Regiment which traces its roots from the 17th Dogra Regiment of the British Indian Army. The Bihar Regiment led by Major Ratnesh Tiwari from 12th Battalion was the next contingent to coin towards the saluting dias. The 1st battalion of the Bihar Regiment, an all-Bihar Battalion was raised during World War 2. Following this, the Combined Band of Assam Regimental Centre, Mahar Regimental Centre and Jammu & Kashmir Rifles Regimental Centre comprising of 100 Musicians marched past the dais. The band was led by Subedar Major Diggar Singh of Mahar Regimental Centre and assisted by Subedar Ashok Kumar of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles Regimental Centre and Naib Subedar Santosh Kumar Pandey of Assam Regimental Centre. The band played ‘Veer Kargil’.
The next marching contingent was Gallant Gorkhas’ from illustrious Gorkha Brigade led by Lt Indrajeet Singh Sikarwar of the 3 Battalion of the 9 Gorkha Rifles (CHINDITS). Gorkha Brigade is a testimony of strong cultural & historical relations between India and Nepal. The bonding of Gorkha community, transcends across international boundaries Gorkha Brigade comprises of 7 renowned Regiments of Indian Army, which include 1st, 3rd, 4th, 8th, 9th and 11th. The next to march was world-renowned brass band of the Indian Navy, comprising 80 musicians and led by M Anthony Raj, MCPO Musician Second Class, playing the Indian Navy Song tune `Jai Bharti’. The next that followed was the Naval Contingent of 144 young sailors led by Lt Cdr Disha Amrith as Contingent Commander and Lt Ashwani Singh, Sub Lt Priyanka Sharma and Sub Lt M Aditya as Platoon Commanders.
The notable thing was that the marching contingent, for the very first time in history, consisted of 3 women and 6 men Agniveers. Warrant Officer Ashok Kumar led the Air Force Band, which played the tune ‘Sound Barrier Quick March’. The band comprised three Drum Majors and 72 Musicians. The IAF marching contingent comprised of 144 Air Warriors and 4 Officers led by Sqn Ldr Sindhu Reddy will march past the Kartavya Path in 12×12 Box formation. The three supernumerary officers marching behind the contingent commander were Flight Lieutenant Ayush Agarwal, Flight Lieutenant Tanuj Malik and Flight Lieutenant Pradhan Nikhil. The mixed contingent of gallant soldiers of the Assam Rifles was the next to march. This magnificent force, aptly called the ‘Sentinels of the North East’, have always been the First Responders in all eventualities in the Northeast, earning them the adulations of fellow citizens as well as the title ‘Friends of the Northeast’.
Following the Assam Rifles mixed marching contingent was the Assam Rifles Band, which played the Assam Rifles song, ‘Assam Rifles ke Sipahi, Desh ki Humne Shaan Badayee’. Assam Rifles Brass Band consisting of 35 Musicians is led by Warrant Officer Rajesh Kumar. The Indian Coast Guard — ‘Sentinels of our Seas’ contingent was led by Deputy Commandant Rohit Singh followed by Deputy Commandant Akin Zutshi two lady officers of the Guard Assistant Commandant Mansi Shelar and Assistant Commandant Nimisha Soparkar. Indian Coast Guard is the First force to employ women in an operational role at sea.
Inspector Shamsher Lal led the Central Reserve Police Force Brass Band consisting of 102 personnel that is playing the tune, ‘Desh Ke Hum Hai Rakshak’. Following the band was an all-women contingent from CRPF- ‘Peacekeepers of the Nation’, led by Assistant Commandant Poonam Gupta. The Force has the distinction of raising the first-ever women-armed police battalion in the world. Constable Kamlesh Kumari was conferred Ashok Chakra, the highest peacetime award for gallantry for her supreme sacrifice while responding to the Parliament Attack. Repulsion of Chinese aggression by the CRPF at Hot Springs Ladakh on October 21, 1959 is celebrated as the Police Commemoration Day. The CRPF is the largest Para Military Force in the world having 246 battalions with over 3.42 lakh personnel.
Constable Suresh Chand Saini led the Railway Protection Brass Band, consisting of 92 personnel. They played ‘Gangotri’. Next to approach the saluting dais was the contingent of the ‘Railway Protection Force led by Assistant Security Commissioner Saurav Kumar, IRPFS. Band Master Inspector Rajender Singh led the Delhi Police Band, comprising an Inspector, nine Sub Inspectors, nine Assistant Sub Inspectors, 15 Head Constables and 42 Constables. The Delhi Police Women Pipe Band comprising of 35 Women Constables participated in Republic Day Parade for the First time. The band played the ‘Delhi Police Song’.
The next to march was the 15-time winner of the best marching contingent of RD Parade, led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Shweta K Sugathan, IPS. The Red Safa clad smartly-attired personnel, from the Delhi Police marching contingent comprises an Assistant Commissioner of Police, two Sub-Inspectors, 44 Head Constables and 100 Constables. Following the Delhi Police march, the regal Camels of the BSF under the command of Deputy Commandant Manohar Singh Kheechee marched on the Kartavya Path.
For the first time, women riders on their decorated camels followed by the ‘CARAVAN’ participated in the Republic Day Parade 2023 showcasing the theme of empowerment of Indian women in various fields. The Camel Mounted Band of the BSF came next to it which consisted of 35 band players and is led by Band Master Sub Inspector Bodhraj. Bandsmen played the melodious tune of ‘Hum Hai Seema Suraksha Bal, Bahaduro Ka Dal’. Raised in 1986-87 by the Rajasthan Frontier of the BSF, the band is a permanent feature in the Desert and Marwar Festivals and also participated in various tattoo shows.
The National Cadet Corps (NCC) Boys Marching contingent, comprising 148 Senior Division cadets, was led by Senior Under Officer Pujari Sivanand of the Maharashtra Directorate. Senior Under Officer Sonali Sahoo of Odisha Directorate headed the NCC Girls Marching contingent, consisting of 148 Senior Division Cadets drawn from all 17 Directorates. The combined Band of NCC Boys Scindia School Gwalior and NCC Girls Birla Balika Vidya Peeth Pilani, Rajasthan was led by Senior Under Officer Abhisekh Chauhan and Sweksha Gupta. The band played ‘Sare Jahan Se Acha’. Senior Under Officer Sonali Sahoo of NCC Directorate, Odisha led the NCC Contingent consisting of 148 Senior Division Cadets drawn from all 17 Directorates of the NCC. The next contingent to follow was the National Service Scheme, known as NSS. The contingent comprised 148 volunteers. The National Service Scheme has 3.91 million volunteers in its fold, drawn from 657 Universities, 51 Directorates and two Councils, 20,669 Colleges and Institutions of Higher Learning and 11,998 Senior Secondary Schools. The Contingent marched under the command of Aanchal Sharma from Himachal Pradesh, Regional Directorate of NSS, Chandigarh. NSS volunteers.