For the first time in the history of Republic Day celebrations, the ‘black cat’ commandos of the elite counter-terror force NSG may march down Rajpath in full armed gear on January 26 next. Officials said a decision in this regard has been taken after a meeting between the Union Home and Defence Ministries following which the National Security Guard (NSG) headquarters here has begun preparations to choose a contingent of about 60 commandos to showcase its prowess and commando-style fast march past.
“This would be the first time when the federal contingency force would participate in the Republic Day events by marching down Rajpath. The first clearances have been issued and hopefully the NSG contingent will march,” they said. Once at Rajpath, the ‘black cats’ will reflect a dashing sheen to the parade as they will be dressed in their trademark black coloured overalls, balaclava headgear and special assault rifles MP-5 along with the iconic commando dagger.
Till now, the troops of Army’s Special Forces were the only commando force to take part in the Rajpath during January 26 celebrations. The NSG contingent is expected to include commandos from both the army and paramilitary-based units of the force, stationed at their garrison in Manesar near here.
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However, it is expected that like last year, some regular paramilitary contingents may not be included this time too.
While the iconic Border Security Force camel and band contingent has been given a go ahead for inclusion in the parade that straddles down from the citadel of power at Raisina hills to the 17th century-built monument Red Fort, the contingent of border guarding Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) may miss the show.
“While the CRPF’s special anti-riot unit RAF and Central Industrial Security Force contingents have been included, the inclusion of Indo-Tibetan Border Polices’ squad is still uncertain and SSB may be a no show.
“Last time, the Central Armed Police Forces squad at Rajpath did not have ITBP, CISF and SSB contingents,” they said.
Senior commanders of the SSB and ITBP, they said, have already made official requests to the Home Ministry to take up the matter of the inclusion of their contingents with the Defence Ministry, the nodal authority for conduct of January 26 celebrations at Rajpath.
The NSG, raised in 1984, is the federal force to undertake counter-terror and counter-hijack operations across the country and till now it was associated with the Republic Day celebrations by way of providing its crack teams for special combat deployment around the parade route and sanitising it by deployment of snipers.