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   Republic Day 2024 parade: Squadron leader Rashmi Thakur leads IAF contingent, Agniveer Vayu
Jan 26, 2024 02:36 pm

Republic Day 2024: A tri-services contingent of Agniveer Vayu (women) participated in the parade. A total of 48 Agniveer Vayu were part of the contingent. Squadron Leader Rashmi Thakur, a fighter controller, led the Indian Air Force's marching contingent at the 75th Republic Day parade on January 26 at the Kartavya Path in New Delhi. In addition to the IAF marching contingent, a tri-services contingent of Agniveer Vayu (women) participated in the parade. A total of 48 Agniveer Vayu were part of the contingent.Fifteen women pilots of the IAF also operated various platforms during the aerial fly-past that featured Tejas and SU 30 MKI combat jets as well as recently inducted C-295 transport aircraft. Squadron leader Thakur was flanked by three women supernumerary officers – squadron leader Sumita Yadav, squadron leader Pratiti Ahluwalia and flight lieutenant Kirti Rohil. "I am really overwhelmed. It is going to be a proud moment for all of us," news agency PTI quoted Thakur, who hails from Shimla, as saying   "I was commissioned June 20, 2015. Since then, the IAF has given me all the opportunities. So it has been very fulfilling and satisfying, but at the same time very very challenging," the fighter controller added. The key role of fighter controllers is to coordinate with fighter pilots on various aspects of air operations. The contingent had 48 women personnel each from the Navy and the Indian Army as well. Out of the 15 women pilots who operated various platforms during the fly-past, six will be from the fighter streams. Flight lieutenant Ananya Sharma and flying officer Asma Sheikh, both Su-30 pilots, presented on the tableau. Flight lieutenant sharma's father was a MiG-21 fighter pilot in the IAF. "It is a dream coming true for me. It is going to be a special moment for me," she told PTI. The C-295 transport aircraft was flown by two women aircrew in the cockpit. The C-295 is a transport aircraft that has recently been inducted into the IAF and will be manufactured in India. The theme of the IAF tableau was "Bharatiya Vayu Sena: Saksham, Sashakt, Atmanirbhar". A total of 51 aircraft of the IAF, including 29 fighter jets and 13 helicopters, were part of the Republic Day fly-past.