New Delhi: In a first, 'black cat' commandos of elite counter-terror force National Security Guard (NSG) participated in the Republic Day parade at Rajpath here.
A contingent of about 140 personnel in black overalls, balaclava headgear and carrying special assault rifle MP-5 added dashing sheen to the parade.
The commandos were given a rapturous round of applause by the spectators as they marched down Rajpath singing the NSG song "Hum haina haina hindustan" penned by renowned poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar.
The march past by the NSG also displayed 'Sherpa' -- a specially designed hijack intervention vehicle -- and two gypsies used for anti-hijack operations.
The NSG, which selects the best of the officers and men from the Indian Army as well as from various central armed police forces, was raised in 1984.
Unmatched dedication and ruthless training is the bedrock of the force which ensures that they take on counter terrorist operations across the country at short notice.
Be it any national or international event in the country, it is called upon to provide discreet security cover. NSG is also the only counter hijack force of the country.
Specialised in hostage rescue, the force is fully trained to operate in various scenarios be it urban, jungle, land, air or water.
Ever since its inception, the NSG has carried out 115 anti-terror operations, including against the 26/11 Mumbai attack and the attack on Air Force Station, Pathankot.
It possesses three Ashok Chakra, three Kirti Chakra, three Shaurya Chakra, 40 Sena Medal, 16 Vishisht Seva Medal and many more for meritorious service.
Meanwhile, India's Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) developed indigenously also made their maiden appearance at the Republic Day parade.
Despite overcast conditions, three fighter jets flew at a height of 300 metres from ground at a speed of 780 km per hour in ‘VIC' formation, leaving the spectators at Rajpath boulevard in awe.
The LCA was earlier flown at the Indian Air Force Day last year. It was also flown at the IAF's fire power demonstration Iron Fist, Aero India, and the Bahrain International Airshow.
Indigenously developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency, and produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Tejas, as a fourth generation aircraft, can fly at 1,350 km per hour and is comparable to the world's best fighters, including French Mirage 2000, American F-16 and Swedish Gripen.
The fighter jet was inducted into 45th Squadron of the Indian Air Force in July 2016 with two aircraft. The plan is to increase the production of aircraft from the present eight to 16 aircraft each year.