New Delhi: Lieutenant Aparna Nair led the Indian Navy’s march at the 68th Republic Day parade at Rajpath in Delhi today. Lt Nair led a contingent of 144 young sailors as the Navy Band played “Jai Bharti”. All the marchers joined last year. Lieutenant Mandar Kulkarni and Lieutenant Vasu Yadav were Platoon Commanders for the march.
The marchers were chosen from a batch of 2,500 trainees. Lt Nair has been quoted in interviews as saying, “We don’t feel different from the men. We are all walking ahead…The Indian Navy is progressing and believes in equal opportunities.”
The Navy is marking the “Year of Submarines” with its submarines Kalvari and Khanderi on display along with its Kolkata-class stealth guided missile destroyer Chennai, a model of the P-81 Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft and elite commandos.
The Navy’s tableau was themed ‘Indian Navy – Professional Force-Anchoring Stability, Security and National Prosperity’. Submarine INS Kalvari is likely to be commissioned into the service by March. INS Khanderi is expected to be commissioned later this year.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Chief Guest, watched the parade along with hundreds of other visitors at Rajpath, the ceremonial road in the heart of Delhi, close to top government offices.
Before the parade, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to soldiers at the Amar Jawan Jyoti. Heavy security is in place along the parade route and across Delhi after intelligence warnings of possible strikes by Pakistan-based terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba.