New Delhi: This Republic Day parade is seeing woman power at its best. Besides an all-women contingent of the Assam Rifles, contingents of Navy, Indian Army Service Corps and a unit of Corps of Signals is being led by women officers this year. (Catch LIVE Updates of Republic Day Parade Here)

Maj Gen Rajpal Punia, Chief of Staff, HQ Delhi Area, told media in Delhi, “Seeing the level of their involvement in this year’s parade, with all-women Assam Rifles contingent, and other contingent leaders, it is the largest participation of women in the parade.”

Lieutenant Bhavana Kasturi, Contingent commander, Army Service Corps, created history by leading an all-men Army contingent. “It’s a matter of great pride and honour to me and it’s a glory for us. Not just me, two of our JCOs and 144 jawans in the contingent are privileged and we will be part of history.”

She added that there was no discrimination in the Army on the basis of gender. “I want to tell young girls to chase their dream and not give up too soon.”

The all-women Assam Rifles contingent will also create history this year by participating for the first time. Maj Khushboo Kanwar, 30, will lead a contingent of the Assam Rifles, the oldest paramilitary force in the country. “Leading an all-women contingent of the Assam Rifles is a matter of great honour and pride for me. We have practised hard…I am a daughter of a bus conductor from Rajasthan and if I can accomplish this, then any girl can fulfil her dream,” she said.

It only gets better with Captain Shikha Surabhi from the Corps of Signals performing bike stunts alongside her male teammates as part of Daredevils, a major attraction every Republic Day.

“I am the first woman to be part of Daredevils segment of the parade. It took a lot of practice to perfect the stunts. But I am proud of this accomplishment. Women can do anything,” said the 28-year-old officer who hails from Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh.

“I will perform a standing salute on a bike,” she said.

Lieutenant Ambika Sudhakaran, who will lead a marching naval contingent of 144 young sailors said, “Men and women are marching shoulder-to-shoulder to serve the nation.”

Fronting the transportable satellite terminal’s contingent is Captain Bhavna Syal, a third-generation officer in the armed forces.