The Republic Day Parade in New Delhi next year could see all-women marching and band contingents with authorities working on such a proposal for the ceremonial event to be held at Kartavya Path, defence sources said.
The defence ministry, in March, had circulated an office memorandum to the three services and various ministries and departments on the planning for the 2024 parade, they said. The memorandum mentioned such a proposal being considered and added that a “de-briefing meeting” was held under the chairmanship of the defence secretary in early February, the sources said.
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After deliberations, it has been decided that the Republic Day Parade 2024 will have only women participants in the contingents (marching and band), tableaux and other performances during the parade at the Kartavya Path, says the memorandum. A few all-women contingents, and women officers, including those leading military contingents comprising men, have taken part in the annual parade on Rajpath (now Kartavya Path) in the last few years.
India showcased its military might and vibrant cultural heritage during the 74th Republic Day Parade held on January 26 this year, with Nari Shakti being a dominant theme.
The Indian Air Force marching contingent of 144 air warriors was led by a woman officer, with three supernumerary male officers in the 2023 parade, which was the first Republic Day celebrations held at the ceremonial boulevard since the revamping of the Central Vista and renaming of Rajpath last year.
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The first Republic Day celebrations were held at the Irwin Stadium (renamed Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium) in 1950, and since 1951, the ceremonial parade has been taking place on Rajpath. Various states and Union Territories, besides several departments and ministries every year showcase culture and heritage, among other themes, through colourful tableaux.
In the 2023 parade, Nari Shakti was the dominant theme in the tableaux of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Tripura. The government in recent years has been pushing for a larger role for women in the armed forces. In a historic first, the Indian Army recently inducted five women officers into its Regiment of Artillery.
(With Agency inputs)