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"Hope national event motivates young girls to join defence..": IAF Lt Kirti Rohil on Republic Day

New Delhi: Indian Air Force (IAF) Flight Lieutenant Kirti Rohil, who will be a part of the IAF marching contingent this year for the Republic Day Parade, said that its an honour and privilege for her to be part of the national event.

She also hoped that it will inspire and motivate young girls to join the defence forces and be part of a bigger change in society.
As per the Indian Air Force, women Agniveer Vayu soldiers will participate in the Indian Air Force contingent for the Republic Day parade this year.

Speaking to ANI on the upcoming Republic Day Parade event, Flight Lieutenant Kirti Rohil said, "We have been practicing for the Air Force Day Parade for two months now. Everybody came from different places and units. We all come from different branches and we all will march together for the Republic Day parade on the Kartavya path as one contingent."

"It is a wonderful experience and we hope that it inspires and motivates the women of the country, the younger girls, to join the defence forces and be part of a bigger change in society," Lt Rohil said.

Flying Officer Asima Sheikh, from Pune, Maharashtra, also spoke on this year's Republic Day theme and said, "I was commissioned in the fighter stream of the flying branch of the Indian Air Force in June, 2022. I feel very honoured and privileged to be a part of the Republic Day tableau."

"The theme for the Republic Day Indian Air Force tableau this year is 'Saksham, Sashakt, Atmanirbhar' which translates to potent, powerful and self-reliant," she said.

"The tableau is divided into three parts: the front portion, the middle portion and the rear portion. The theme for the rear portion is 'potent', which is visible in the C-130 aircraft, which signifies Operation Cauvery, which was carried out in 2023, where the C-130 aircraft were used to rescue more than 3,800 Indian nationals from Sudan during the Sudan conflict," she added.

"The centre portion signifies 'sashakt' or powerful. There are two fighter aircraft, Tejas and Su-30, that are shown over the Indian Ocean region and that shows the capability of the IAF not only on land but in the sea as well," added the officer.

Flight Lieutenant Ananya Sharma, from Delhi, also shared how her father, an IAF officer, inspired her to continue the family legacy.

"My father was a pilot of the MIG-21 aircraft. It was a dream come true for me when I got commissioned into the IAF. We are all looking forward to the Republic Day parade," she said.

Fighter Controller Pragati, who has been associated with the Air Force for 7 years now, said, "It takes a lot of teamwork working in the kartavya path; each and every person has to have the same hand swing and the same marching style."

In a first, 48 Agniveer Vayu women to participate in Republic Day Parade. Two all-women contingents of the Defence Forces are scheduled to march at the parade this year.

The IAF marching contingent will be led by Squadron Leader Rashmi Thakur, with Squadron Leader Sumita Yadav, Squadron Leader Pratiti Alhuwalia and Flight Lieutenant Kirti Rohil as supernumerary officers.

In addition, 15 women pilots of the IAF will also operate various air assets of the IAF during the aerial flypast.
Defence officials said, "One contingent, including 144 personnel, would have all women soldiers, including 60 from the Army and the remaining from the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy."

The contingent would include female Agniveer soldiers who would be from the Navy and Air Force. Another all-women contingent would be from the Directorate General of the Armed Forces Medical Services, which will include nurses of the military nursing services and they would be led by women doctors at the parade.

French President Emmanuel Macron will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations on January 26. Notably, this is the sixth time a French leader will be the chief guest at Republic Day celebrations here in the national capital.

Promotion of Nari Shakti or strengthening women's power in the defence forces, has been one of the key focus areas of the Narendra Modi-led government at the centre.

All three forces have opened up multiple avenues for women soldiers and officers in the defence forces. While the Indian Air Force has allowed women as fighter pilots, the Navy has given the command of its warship for the first time to a lady officer.

The Indian Army has also allowed the entry of women officers and soldiers into almost all of its arms and services. The Force is also looking at the possibility of allowing women in other arms and branches too. (ANI)

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