Wednesday January 23, 2019
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After 26 years, Dog squad to participate in Republic Day parade


New Delhi: They are cute, yet aggressive. But don’t let the friendly appearance of these Indian Army dogs deceive you into believing that they are ordinary pets.

Trained to perfectly match their steps with the marching soldiers, the army’s canine warriors can tear an enemy apart in minutes if their handlers tell them to.

The army’s dog squad will participate in this year’s Republic Day parade after 26 long years.

“It is a matter of pride for us to participate in the Republic Day parade. It was a challenging task to train the dogs to march in step with the jawans and we achieved this after four months of training and practice,” said an officer of the Remount Veterinary Corps (RVC).

The army organised an event on Tuesday where the dogs displayed their extraordinary skills.

“The participating contingent consists of 36 dogs and as many handlers. There are 24 Labradors and 12 German Shepherds, all males,” he added.

The army dogs play a crucial role in combat situations. They are used for tracking explosives, detect mines and in rescue operations in insurgency-hit areas.

The RVC in Meerut breeds and trains the dogs. Currently, there are 1,200 canines under its watch.

The dogs are trained for different tasks based on their strengths. The army dogs and their trainers have won one Shaurya Chakra, six Sena Medals, 142 COAS Commendation Cards, six VCOAS Commendation Cards and 448 GOC-in-C Commendation Cards.

“Since German Shepherds are fierce and aggressive in nature, they are used for assault, guard, infantry and patrolling tasks. The Labradors, on the other hand, are very command specific and they are mainly used for mine detection, explosives detection and search and rescue operations,” the officer said.

Labradors are good learners and can be taught many different things. They are also not as fierce as German Shepherds.

An army dog’s training starts when it turns six months old. It has to undergo early morning physical exercise, followed by the main training.

After the day’s training, the dogs are rested, groomed and fed. They are also checked for any injury or wounds.

The canines are first trained in basic obedience for 12 weeks after which the main training begins. The explosives and mine detection training is the most sensitive one and usually lasts for 36 weeks.

“We prefer Labradors for this as they are calm and intelligent. Even slight scratching by the dog can set off a hidden explosive. So the aggressive German Shepherd is not ideal for this. They are good for assault and guard,” the officer said.

The dog squad handlers from the RVC are very excited about taking part in the prestigious Republic Day parade. And their canine companions, too, after a long and gruelling training, look eager to charm the audience on Rajpath. (IANS)

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Election Commission to participate in Republic Day parade


New Delhi: A tableau of the Election Commission and a marching contingent of the French army will be among the firsts at this year’s Republic Day parade with the Indian Army dog squad also slated to make a return to Rajpath.

The French contingent, consisting of 100 French army personnel and 36 band members, will march on the 67th Republic day for the first time in history. Their position will be behind Param Veer Chakra, Ashok Chakra and Mahavir Chakra winners.

France’s President Francois Hollande will be the guest of honour at this year’s celebrations.

Trained dogs of the Indian army, including Labradors and German Shepherds, will march in the parade after 26 years.

“After 26 years, a dog contingent will be participating in the Republic Day parade.

“We (Ministry of Defence) hope that all these new additions will bring beauty and charm to the occasion,” said D. Mohanty, PRO (Defence).

This year a tableau on the Election Commission will take part in the parade depicting the large participation of people in elections.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will present a tableau with its theme based on the 125th birth anniversary of India’s first law minister Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, who is regarded as the chief architect of India’s Constitution.

This year 23 tableaux will participate in the parade where the country will showcase its cultural diversity, development in science and technology and economic and military strength.

According to official, this year many states including Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Maharashtra will not participate in the tableaux. Delhi will also not be there.

Jammu and Kashmir will present its tableau on the economic transformation and natural environment.

The state’s tableau designer Ahmad Dhar said, “The state has seen turmoil. We want to show people different things about the Valley.”

Madhya Pradesh will feature the rare breed of white tigers. The state has one of the largest populations of tigers in the country.

Gujarat is also presenting a theme on wildlife as Asiatic lions of Gir forest will be highlighted in its tableau.

Bihar, in its tableau, will be showcasing the 1917 Champaran movement by Mahatma Gandhi whereas Karnataka will showcase the theme of coffee since the state counts among the top six coffee producers in the world.

Tamil Nadu will showcase the Toda tribe of Nilgiri district. The tribe is identified as one of the six primitive tribal groups of the state.

Tableaus from the Ministry of Communication and IT, Ministry of Panchayat Raj, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy will also be a part of the Republic Day parade. (IANS)