For the first time in the history of the Republic Day celebrations, the iconic Border Security Force camel contingent will not be ambling down the Rajpath in New Delhi on January 26.
Officials said the 90-member Border Security Force camel-mounted troops and band contingent has not been practising during the dress rehearsals of the event being held here, due to the absence of official directions.
The majestic and elegantly dressed four-legged ‘ship of the desert’ belonging to the border guarding force first became a part of the celebration in 1976 after it replaced a similar squad of the army that had been participating in the Republic Day parade since the first such event in 1950.
“The camel contingent may also not be a part of the Beating the Retreat Ceremony to be held on January 29 where they stand along the ramparts of the North and South blocks on Raisina Hill,” they said.
The BSF camel contingent is the inheritor of the heritage of the Bikaner Royal Camel Force, known as ‘Ganga Risala’, and is based in the border town of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan.
Every year the contingent travels to Delhi in November to participate in the Raising Day event of the BSF on December 1 and the Republic Day parade after which it returns to its base.
Officials said the January 26 parade this time is undergoing a number of changes such as the non-inclusion of paramilitary forces like ITBP, CISF and SSB. However, some new features have been added to it including the dogs squad contingent of the Indian Army and a team of French soldiers.
Indian Army's canine division will participate for the first time
Around 36 dogs of the Army Dog Squad - which comprises Labradors, Belgian Shepherds and German Shepherds - will run down the Rajpath on this January 26 for the first time after 26 years.
This is a tribute to Mansi, a four-year-old Labrador, who sacrificed her life along with her master Bashir Ahmed War at the hands of heavily-armed infiltrators at Tangdhar district in Kashmir last August.
Feature image: Twitter