Dog squad for Republic Day parade chosen on merit: Officials

New Delhi: The dog squad of the army’s Remount Veterinary Corps, who will take part in this year’s Republic Day parade after nearly three decades, have been selected on the basis of merit, Army officials said on Saturday.

An official said the dogs who will take part in the parade had not been pulled out of counter-insurgency operations.

“The dogs undergo various kinds of training including obedience training for 12 weeks. The 36 dogs were selected on the basis of merit,” an official told IANS.

Major General Rajesh Sahai, Chief of Staff, Delhi Area, who briefed the media about the parade, said the dog squad will return to the Republic Day parade after 27 years.

He said participation of the dog squad after 27 years was a form of recognition of the work done by the animal and its handler in counter-insurgency.

“Dogs have done a fantastic job in counter-insurgency tasks,” Sahai said.

Sahai also lauded the participation of a foreign contingent in the Republic Day parade for the first time.

Lt. Col. P. Bury, Commanding Officer of the 35th Infantry Regiment of the French Army, who was also present at the briefing, said they were very honoured to be the first foreign army contingent to take part in the parade.

“Knowing that we are the very first foreign units that will have this honour, is a great pride for us. We are very impressed by the parade. We are very proud to represent France and to be the first foreign unit to be invited to parade at Rajpath,” Bury told IANS.

The Indian Army’s participation will include mounted column of 61 cavalry, seven mechanized columns, six marching contingents and a fly past by Rudra and Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters.

There will be 26 tableaux – 17 from states, one of each from the air force, navy and ex-servicemen and six from various ministries.

There will be four items by school children. A total of 15 combined army bands, one air force, one navy, five bands of paramilitary forces and one NCC band as also one massed pipes and drums band will provide music for the parade.

Sahai said Lt. Gen. Rajan Ravindran, General Officer Commanding, Delhi Area, will be the parade commander.

He said the duration of the parade has been reduced by about 25 minutes to keep it “short, sweet and action-packed.”