BSF to showcase max of five contingents during R Day parade

New Delhi: Country’s largest border guarding force BSF will get the privilege of showcasing the maximum of five marching contingents, including two on camels, at the Republic Day parade where US President Barack Obama is the chief guest.

All other paramilitary forces like CRPF, CISF, ITBP and SSB, responsible for internal security tasks in the country, will have two squads (marching and band) each on Rajpath as those of the defence forces of Army, Navy and the Air Force.

Official sources said the BSF was supposed to have four contingents this time, a regular feature every year, but the fifth squad of daredevil bike-borne ‘Janbaaz’ was given a special entry, instead of the scheduled Army team, on the request of the Union Home Ministry as the force is celebrating its 50th anniversary of raising this year.

“The bike-borne devils perform their stunts on Republic Day alternatively in the BSF and the Army teams. This time it was the Army’s turn but a special case was made out for the border guarding force as it is celebrating its golden jubilee this year. The BSF headquarters had made a special request in this regard,” they said.

The bullet motorcycle riding ‘Janbaaz’ troops are record holders in various events on their 350cc Enfield bikes and will perform over a dozen acrobatic manoeuvres when the parade laps up.

Apart from the regular foot marching contingent followed by the brass band teams, the BSF will also showcase its camel contingent and the camel-mounted band team, which makes it the largest single participant in this event which has become special due to the arrival of Obama, who will be the first US President to officiate as the chief guest of India’s most iconic and ceremonial event.

Incidentally, the camel-mounted band had performed before Obama when he visited India in November 2010.

One of the camels in this team, 16-year-old Sangram will participate in his last Republic Day parade this time as he set to retire later this year. He has walked the Rajpath 10 times earlier.

The camel contingent, with troops sitting atop with their INSAS rifles, and the band team is unique to the BSF which has deployed the ‘ship of the desert’ to patrol the Indo-Pak border in the Thar desert area in Rajasthan and some parts of Gujarat.

While the camel mounted troops contingent will have 54 of these four-legged combatants, the camel band will have 36 camels dressed elegantly in their best attire.

The BSF, with about 2.5-lakh personnel in its ranks, is the country’s largest border guarding force and is mandated to guard the two most important Indian borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.