Amid display of military might, women take centre stage at R-Day paradePress Trust of India
All-women Assam Rifles contingent creates history by participating in a Republic Day parade for the first time; lady officer draws applause for her bike stunts.
Women power was on full display during the 70th Republic Day parade on Rajpath in New Delhi on Saturday with several Navy and Army contingents being led by them and a woman officer exhibiting stunts on bike.
The all-women Assam Rifles contingent created history this year by participating for the first time in a Republic Day parade.
Contingents of the Navy, India Army Service Corps and a unit of Corps of Signals (transportable satellite terminal) were all led by women officers.
Captain Shikha Surabhi, from the Signals Corps, became the first woman to perform bike stunts, alongside her male teammates as part of Daredevils, a major attraction every Republic Day. Her standing salute from the bike drew loud applause from the audience.
For the first time, a lady officer, Lieutenant Bhavana Kasturi, led a contingent of the India Army Service Corps, and Captain Bhavna Syal, a third-generation officer in the armed forces, led the transportable satellite terminal's contingent.
In a first, Shankhnaad, a military tune composed by an Indian classical music exponent based on a poem penned by a Mahar Regiment veteran, was also played during the parade.
India celebrated its 70th Republic Day with a grand display of its military might and rich cultural diversity as the ceremonial parade rolled down the majestic Rajpath in the presence of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as the chief guest.