National Security Guard participated in the Republic Day parade at Rajpath. Photograph:( Reuters )
India showcased its military might in its 68th Republic Day parade on Thursday, in a first, 'black cat' commandos of elite counter-terror force National Security Guard (NSG) participated in the Republic Day parade at Rajpath.
A contingent of about 140 personnel in black overalls, balaclava headgear and carrying special assault rifle MP-5 added dashing sheen to the parade. The commandos were given a rapturous round of applause by the spectators as they marched down Rajpath singing the NSG song "Hum haina haina hindustan" penned by renowned poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar.
The march past by the NSG also displayed 'Sherpa' - a specially designed hijack intervention vehicle - and two gypsies used for anti-hijack operations. The NSG, which selects the best of the officers and men from the Indian army as well as from various central armed police forces, was raised in 1984.
Unmatched dedication and ruthless training is the bedrock of the force which ensures that they take on counter-terrorist operations across the country at short notice.
Be it any national or international event in the country, it is called upon to provide discreet security cover. NSG is also the only counter-hijack force of the country. Specialised in hostage rescue, the force is fully trained to operate in various scenarios be it urban, jungle, land, air or water.
Ever since its inception, the NSG has carried out 115 anti-terror operations, including against the 26/11 Mumbai attack and the attack on Air Force Station, Pathankot.
It possesses three Ashok Chakra, three Kirti Chakra, three Shaurya Chakra, 40 Sena Medal, 16 Vishisht Seva Medal and many more for meritorious service.
The UAE presidential guard presents its ceremonial salute to Indian President Pranab Mukherjee. (ANI)
The 'Black Cat' commandos -- they're formally called the National Security Guard or NSG -- took part for the first time. (ANI)
The Indian army's missile-firing capable T-90 Bhishma tank, Infantry Combat Vehicle BMP-2K, and Mobile Autonomous Launcher of the BrahMos Missile System were the main draws in the mechanised columns. (ANI)
The UAE military contingent was led by Lt Col Abood Musabeh Abood Musabeh Alghfeli.
The parade commenced at 9 am with four Mi-17 helicopters flying the tricolour, while three other helicopters flying ensigns of the Army, Navy and Air Force showered flower petals on the people below.
The helicopters paved the way for parade commander Lt Gen MM Narwane, GoC, Delhi Area, to take over.
The other highlight of the parade was a fly-past by the Tejas, India`s single-seat, single-jet engine, multi-role light fighter designed for the Indian army and navy.
Another was the marching contingent of the National Security Guards (NSG), popularly known as the black cat commandos.
The Indian army's missile-firing capable T-90 Bhishma tank, Infantry Combat Vehicle BMP-2K, Mobile Autonomous Launcher of the BrahMos Missile System, Weapon Locating Raddar Swathi, Akash Weapon System, CBRN Reconnaissance Vehicle and Dhanush Gun System were the main draws in the mechanised columns.
An Indian Air Force (IAF) tableau, with the theme "Air Dominance Through Network Centric Operations", rolled down Rajpath with scaled-down models of the Su-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, AWACS, UAV, Apache and Communication Satellite on display.
The Indian navy's tableau bore the theme: "Indian Navy -- Professional Force-Anchoring Stability, Security and National Prosperity".
The tableau showcased marine commandos poised for action, the indigenously-built Kolkata Class Destroyer, and the Kalvari Class next-generation attack submarine. The tableaux also displayed a model of the P-8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) showcased its Advanced Towed Artillery System and Medium Power Radar Arudha.
Lakshadweep was participating in the parade after 23 years.