New Delhi: After 30 years, the Indian Navy will show off its fighter jets and reconnaissance aircraft in the Republic Day military parade.
The Naval contingent will be led by the newly-acquired and made-in-USA long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti -submarine aircraft.
Not entirely surprising, given that US President Barack Obama is the Chief Guest for the event.
Another first for January 26: the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy will each field a contingent of about 150 women officers. This is the first time that woman officers will be part of the Republic Day parade.
In 1984, the Navy flew its then newly-acquired British-made Sea Harriers in the Republic Day parade.
A very young officer Arun Prakash -who would later make Chief of Navy Staff - hovered with the Sea Harrier over Delhi's Vijay Chowk like a helicopter, thrilling spectators.
For three decades, the navy acquired no new fighter jets, so it chose not to put its aircraft on display at Republic Day parades. Now, that has changed. "The new assets have not been displayed yet" a senior naval officer told NDTV," the government wants to display these to the nation."
Besides the US-made aircraft, the newly-acquired Russian-made Mig-29K - the Navy's first supersonic fighter which can fly faster than the speed of sound -will also be part of the Naval fly-past.