Women army personnel to march in R-Day parade for the first time

For the first time, the armed forces will have all-women marching contingents in the Republic Day parade in New Delhi this year, at which US President Barack Obama will be the chief guest. Reports say it has been a scramble for the Army, Navy and IAF to find 148 women each – one contingent commander, three platoon commanders and 144 in the marching block, as they still constitute a small minority in the predominantly male disciplines of the over 1.3 million strong armed forces. One source says since PM Narendra Modi is keen on women empowerment and 'Naari Shakti' as the theme for the parade, so women officers with proper drill standards and fit enough for the 10 km march have been selected from various stations across the country. India's civilian leadership and military brass have been consistently opposed to deploying women in combat roles, so women officers cannot be fighter pilots, serve on sea-faring warships or join the infantry, armoured corps, or artillery.