Barring the stereotype, for the first time, Indian Army will let a lady officer take charge of 71st Army Day parade on January 15, this year.

Lieutenant Bhawna Kasturi will lead a contingent of 144 jawans during the parade as the army will celebrate its raising day to salute the brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the country and its citizens.

Lieutenant Bhawna Kasturi

Lieutenant Bhawna Kasturi

Previously in 2015, on Republic day, lady officers from tri-services led their contingents with 148 personnel each drawn from the Army, Air Force, and the Navy. This year, Lieutenant Kasturi is likely to lead the Indian Army’s Service Corps (ASC) contingent, that supports the logistic function of the Army.

It is after 23 long years that the ASC will be participating in the parade and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bipin Rawat will take salute on this occasion, mentioned UNI report.

While talking to the portal, Lt. Kasturi said, “This is the first time ever a lady officer is leading a contingent. Earlier, never a lady officer led a jawans’ contingent. Boys are putting too much effort and we have been practicing since past one year.

Adding to this, the Army officer said, “Our center is in Bangalore and I’m coming from our regimental center. The jawans have been practicing for 6 months and along with them, there are two male officers from the center, who are practicing as contingent commanders.

Praising the Army for this incredible opportunity, she said that this bears proof of the acceptance of female officers, the change and the evolutions that are taking place in the entire organization.

Captain Shikha Surabhi and Lieutenant Bhawna Kasturi

Army Day is celebrated on 15 January every year in India, in recognition of Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa’s (then a Lieutenant General) taking over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander-in-Chief of India, on 15 January 1949.

Apart from that, on January 26, Captain Shikha Surabhi will be the first woman officer to join the Army’s ‘Daredevils Motorcycle Display Team’, which was till now a males only team. The team is a part of the army’s Corps of Signals, a combat support arm that holds 24 world records to their credit, including one of the Guinness World Record. The stunts include a 304-men ride on 13 motorcycles and 61 men on a single bike. They will also be taking part in the Army Day parade.

This year, Captain Shikha will be leading a team of 33 men riding 9 bikes who will form a pyramid. The entire contingent will be lead by Major Manpreet Singh.

Captain Shikha Surabhi

Captain Shikha Surabhi practicing for the Republic Day with her Daredevils team | source

In an interview with ET, Surabhi said, that she had to go through difficult tests along with others to become a part of the team. Now, she is the second in command of the Daredevils team.

She will be giving a standing salute while riding the bike.