Guwahati: The Assam Rifles — India’s oldest paramilitary force with more than 187 years of unparalleled history — this time will highlight the message of gender equality and unity in diversity at the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26.

The 144-strong contingent backed by the Assam Rifles Military Band will march with honour and pride on the Kartayva Path in New Delhi on Republic Day bringing the euphoria and spirit of the Northeast with them.

In a sui generis initiative, the Assam Rifles will showcase ‘Gender Equality’ and ‘Unity in Diversity’ at the parade by presenting a mixed contingent of equal numbers of male and women soldiers. The contingent will be led by Captain Akshay and will include soldiers recruited from various regions of the country. This reflects the Assam Rifles’ belief in equal opportunity for all.

Since 2015, women soldiers have been deployed alongside their male counterparts on frontline duties in various locations, including the Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir, and United Nations missions.

With a proud history spanning 187 years, the Assam Rifles have evolved into a highly skilled and efficient force, ready to take on any challenge. The organization is well-equipped to meet the diverse security needs of India. Known as the ‘First Responders’ in the Northeast region, the Assam Rifles have consistently demonstrated their ability to respond quickly and effectively to any situation. They have earned the admiration and respect of the local population and are widely referred to as the “friends of the Northeast.”

The Assam Rifles have been a vital force in the Northeast region of India for over 187 years, earning the trust and admiration of the local population. They have stood tall against all challenges, from the World Wars and Chinese aggression of 1962 to the insurgency in the Northeast and natural disasters.

On Republic Day, the smartly attired soldiers of the Assam Rifles will be watched fondly by their friends in the Northeast, from Tirap District in Arunachal Pradesh to Lunglei in Mizoram, from Vijaynagar in the East to the Brahmaputra Plains in the West.

The Assam Rifles’ presence is also felt in the Northern Borders of Jammu and Kashmir, where they have been fostering a new bond with the locals since 2020. The recent rescue of over 172 civilians at the Zozila Tunnel site is a testament to the force’s dedication and service.

The Assam Rifles also have a rich history of successful operations, such as the elimination of 72 insurgents and induction of 13 surrenders in 1991, and have also been deployed overseas in Sri Lanka during Op Pawan and United Nation missions in Haiti, Golan Heights, Congo and recently at Abyei.

The mixed marching contingent of the Assam Rifles at the Kartavya Path on January 26th is a powerful symbol of the progress and changes in the North East region. The presence of both men and women, many of them young, in the contingent reflects the increasing opportunities for socio-economic advancement in the area. This is a clear indication that the Government of India’s Act East Policy is making a positive impact. Known as “The Sentinels of the Northeast”, the Assam Rifles march on Republic Day will not only be seen on the parade route but will also be felt in the hearts of citizens across the country.

Also Read | SC upholds Gauhati HC order on annulling Assam’s rural healthcare law

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