The Indian Army, at the Republic Day parade today, showcased the Centurion tank, PT-76 tank, 75/24 Pack howitzer and OT-62 TOPAZ armoured personnel carrier that played a major role in defeating Pakistan in the 1971 war.
India in 2021 celebrated the Swarnim Vijay Varsh (Golden victory year) to commemorate India's win over Pakistan in the 1971 war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
The mechanised columns of the Army showed one PT-76 tank, one Centurion tank, two MBT Arjun MK-I tanks, one OT-62 TOPAZ armoured personnel carrier, one BMP-I infantry fighting vehicle and two BMP-II infantry fighting vehicles.
The Centurion tank of the Poona Horse regiment that proved instrumental in the 1971 Indo-Pak war arrives at the #RepublicDay parade at Rajpath, led by Capt. Rahul Sharma with the motto 'Ranvir Jai Sada' #RepublicDayIndia#RepublicDay2022pic.twitter.com/ZVMZmGbbth— PIB India (@PIB_India) January 26, 2022
One 75/24 Pack howitzer, two Dhanush howitzers, one PMS bridge-laying system, two Sarvatra bridge-laying systems, one HT-16 electronic warfare system, two Taran Shakti electronic warfare systems, one Tiger Cat missile system and two Akash missile systems were also part of the mechanised columns at the Republic Day parade.
At the parade, the detachment of Centurion tank of "The Poona Horse' regiment was led by Captain Rahul Sharma.
Centurion was the main stay of the Indian Army in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. At the Battle of Basantar during the war, an armoured division and a brigade of the Pakistan 1 Corps confronted two brigades of the Indian 1 Corps equipped with Centurion tanks. Casualties were heavy on the Pakistan side with 46 tanks destroyed. The PT-76 tank at the parade was led by Captain Anshuman Tiwari of 69 Armoured Regiment.
The PT-76 saw action in the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971. The Battle of Bogra in the 1971 war was fought by the 69 Armour Regiment with the help of PT-76 tanks.
The Battle of Garibpur of the 1971 war is another example where the Indian Army's infantry battalion with only 14 PT-76 tanks was able to maul a much larger brigade of Pakistani armour and inflict heavy casualties.
During the Battle of Garibpur, many Pakistani M24 Chaffee tanks were destroyed. OT-62 Topaz armoured personnel carrier, which also played a pivotal role during the 1971 war, was led by Major Ravi Kumar of the Mechanised Infantry Regiment during the parade.
The 75/24 Pack howitzer was the first indigenously developed mountain gun. It actively participated in the 1965 Indo-Pak war and 1971 Indo-Pak war.
The gun, which weighs 983 kgs and could fire up to a maximum range of 11,104 metres, was phased out in 1980s.
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