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Vice-Admiral Suraj Berry, Navy’s Controller Personnel Services, speaks at the Republic Day Parade press preview in New Delhi on January 20, 2023.  Photo: Special Arrangement

Vice-Admiral Suraj Berry, Navy’s Controller Personnel Services, speaks at the Republic Day Parade press preview in New Delhi on January 20, 2023. Photo: Special Arrangement

Navy Agniveers currently undergoing training could be part of the marching contingent at the Republic Day Parade (RDP) at Kartavya Path next week. Also, the Navy will soon have women officers and women sailors onboard warships with women Agniveers ready to be deployed onboard once their training is complete by end-March, according to Navy officials.

Officials said the proposal to have a small number of Navy Agniveers as part of the Naval contingent at the Republic Day Parade (RPD) is under active consideration and a final decision is awaited.

“Women are part of the Indian Navy and women have been inducted in the sailor ranks as well as officer ranks across branches. So ‘ nari shakti’ [women power] is currently deployed in all naval operations which cover surveillance at sea and related operations at sea,” said Vice Admiral Suraj Berry, Navy’s Controller Personnel Services on Friday briefing the media on the Navy’s participation in the upcoming Republic Day Parade (RDP).

There are 271 women among the almost 2,800 naval Agniveers undergoing training at the INS Chilka in Odisha. The four-month training programme would be completed by March 23, 2023. The Agniveers would then spend two weeks on a warship as part of a familiarisation course, following which they would get postings.

To begin with, women Agniveers would be deployed on big warships like aircraft carriers and destroyers. Some changes in facilities onboard are being made to accommodate them which includes a dedicated mess facility with washrooms in proximity.

There could be up to 20-30 women sailors in every ship and their deployment is likely across 8-9 capital warships, Vice Adm Berry said. Women officers are already serving onboard warships and their numbers would increase over time as separate facilities are available, Navy officials had stated earlier.

Naval contingent

At the Republic Day Parade (RDP), the Naval marching contingent of 144 young sailors will be led by Lt Cdr Disha Amrith as Contingent Commander and Lt Ashwani Singh, SLt Valli Meena S, and SLt M Aditya as Platoon Commanders. This will be followed by the Navy band of 80 musicians led by M Antony Raj, Master Chief Petty Officer (Musician Second Class), playing the Indian Navy Song ‘Jai Bharti’.

The Navy tableau for the RDP is in line with its theme of a combat-ready, credible, cohesive and future-proof force and the Tableau Commander is Lt Cdr Inderjeet Chauhan. “The tableau is designed with an aim to showcase the multi-dimensional capabilities of the Navy as well as highlight key indigenously designed and built inductions under ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’. The tableau also aims to highlight ‘ Nari Shakti’ in the Navy,” Lt Cdr Chauhan explained.

The forward part of the tableau (on the tractor) will showcase a woman aircrew of the Dornier maritime patrol aircraft (flying overhead), highlighting an all-women crew of a surveillance sortie undertaken last year. The main section of the tableau (on the trailer) will illustrate the ‘Make in India’ initiatives of the Navy. At the rear section of the tableau, three models of the autonomous unmanned systems being developed indigenously under IDEX-SPRINT Challenge would be displayed.

SPRINT stands for Supporting Pole-vaulting In R&D through Innovations for Defence Excellence (IdeX), Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) and Technology Development Acceleration Cell (TDAC). It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in last July and the Navy aims to induct 75 new technologies by August 15, 2023.

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