New Delhi, Jan 23: A contingent of 179 United Arab Emirates soldiers will lead the Republic Day parade this year. The UAE has sent 195 jawans, 15 officers and 15 support staff.
Of these, 144 jawans and 35 band members will be part of the parade, said Major General Rajesh Sahai, Chief of Staff, Delhi area and also second-in -command of the parade.
"Because they are guests, they will lead the parade," he said.
The UAE is the second country after France to send its troops to participate in the Republic-Day parade of India, a tradition which started last year. Speaking to reporters, Brigadier Obaid Al-Zahumi, who will be leading the UAE contingent, said they were excited to be a part of the event.
"We got an invitation from the Indian Army some three weeks back and since then we have been busy in getting ready for the parade. We have a nice mix of soldiers from the army, navy and the air force," Zahumi said.
The troops from the Arab country also participated in the full dress rehearsal, which commenced from Monday at Rajpath. They will lead the march after customary parade commander, his second-in-command and Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra Award winners walk past the Rajpath after paying respect to the President, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
The Indian Army will showcase its T-90 and BMP tanks, two Bramhos missiles, Dhanush gun system along with Weapon Locating Radars Swati at the R-Day parade. Fifty-one horses of 61st Cavalry Regiment and BSF's camel contingent will be a part of the show.
Marching contingents of Mechanised Infantry, Madras Engineer Group, Bihar Regiment, 39 Gorkha Training Centre and Territorial Army will also participate in the parade, apart from contingents of Coast Guard and National Security Guard.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation will showcase its Advanced Towed Artillery System and Medium Power Radar Arudha at the parade. UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will be the chief guest at the 68th Republic Day.