Soldiers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are likely to march down Rajpath during the Republic Day parade this year, during which the chief guest will be Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Commandos of the elite National Security Guard (NSG) will also make their debut showcasing their anti-terror, anti-hijacking and special operations capabilities.
“UAE Army has been invited to participate in the parade and they have given in-principle approval. The details are being worked out,” a Defence Ministry source told The Hindu .
The French Army created history last year by being the first foreign force to take part in an RD parade which showcases the military might and cultural diversity of the Indian republic. French President Francois Hollande was the chief guest last year. Sources said that foreign contingents will be positioned after the mechanised columns.
UAE is considered to be one of the closest allies of Pakistan. But there has been increased engagement between India and UAE over the last two years. The Crown Prince had earlier visited India in February last year following Mr. Modi’s visit in August 2015.
NSG commandos have traditionally been a regular sight at the RD parade providing security. This time they are all set to enthral the crowd in their trademark black uniform. However, the Army’s Para Special Forces, which were part of the parade on earlier occasions, are not taking part this year.
At least 121 men and two dogs of the force will be part of the contingent in various components -- mounted, counter hijack, counter terror, special operations -- and followed by a rear escort on motor cycles. Two dogs will be part of the counter terror and bomb disposal component.