WION Web TeamNew Delhi, Delhi, IndiaJan 26, 2018, 10.40 AM
India celebrated its 69th Republic Day on Friday with 10 ASEAN leaders as chief guests in attendance. With impressive march pasts and colourful tableaux, the day's ceremony commenced with Prime Minister Narendra Modi laying the wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate to pay homage to the fallen soldier.
The highlight of the parade was motorcycle contingent 'Seema Bhawani' of the Border Security Force (BSF), comprising women personnel of the force that showcased their skills for the first time at the parade.
As per tradition, the BSF and the Army's bike-borne 'daredevils' end the parade on alternate years. But this time, members of the BSF's women motorcycle team replaced their male counterparts.
More than 100 daredevil BSF women came riding on 350cc Royal Enfield motorcycles and performed acrobatics and stunts with panache along the Rajpath.
The contingent was led by sub-inspector Stanzin Noryang, an officer from Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region.
There was a loud cheer as the "Seema Bhawani" contingent performed fish riding, four harmony, sapt Rishi, brahma yog guldasta, seema prahari and flag march pyramid at the parade, where supreme commander of the Indian armed forces President Ram Nath Kovind took the salute.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ASEAN leaders present on the dais and other dignitaries in the audience too applauded the women bikers.
The team was raised at Central School of Motor Transport (CSMT), BSF Academy Tekanpur on October 20, 2016.
The members of this special women bikers squad have been specially chosen by BSF trainers and are aged between 25-30 years. They are drawn from various combat ranks of the force.
The BSF 'daredevil' team had made news a few years back when the then US President Barack Obama, while officiating as the chief guest of the 2015 parade, signalled a thumbs up to the bikers from his dais on Rajpath and had later called their stunts "impressive".
The Indian Army's T-90 tank (Bhishma), Ballway Machine Pikate (II/IIK), Brahmos Missile System, Weapon Locating Radar (Swathi), Bridge Laying Tank T-72, Mobile Base Transceiver Station and Akash Weapon System were also showcased at the parade.
The country's first indigenously-built Weapon System Integrated helicopter Rudra, designed and developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), also made its debut at the parade on Friday.