Next Republic Day Parade Could See All-Women ContingentsMay 8, 2023 | Pratirodh Bureau
Next year’s Republic Day Parade in New Delhi 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.
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.
The first Republic Day celebrations were held in 1950 at the Irwin Stadium (renamed Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium), 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.
Meanwhile, in related news, women officers of the Territorial Army will now be posted along the Line of Control (LoC), with the Defence Ministry and the Department of Military Affairs approving amendments to existing cadre management provisions. The policy measure is aimed at enhancing the scope of employment of women officers and also to meet their professional aspirations, said a Defence Ministry statement.
“Women Officers of the Territorial Army will now be posted with Engineer Regiments of the Territorial Army serving along the Line of Control and as staff officers at TA Group Headquarters/Directorate General of Territorial Army at New Delhi, as per organizational requirement,” it said.
The women officers will now serve and train under the same conditions as their male counterparts in a wider range of units and appointments, including serving in challenging field conditions and in important staff appointments, the statement said.
The Territorial Army had begun commissioning of women officers in 2019. However, these officers were thus far able to serve only the Ecological Task Force Units, TA Oil sector units and TA Railway Engineer Regiment.
“Based on the experience gained during this period, a considered proposal was prepared to extend the employment scope further for women officers in TA which has now been approved by the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri in April this year,” the ministry said.
The Territorial Army is based on a Citizen Soldiers’ army concept. The officers undergo annual training on basic military skills while remaining employed in civilian life.