Shivangi Singh, India’s first woman pilot of the Rafale fighter jet was part of the Indian Air Force’s tableau at the Republic Day parade on Wednesday.

She is the second woman fighter jet pilot to be part of the Indian Air Force’s tableaux after Bhawna Kanth, who participated in last year’s Republic Day parade.

Singh, who hails from Varanasi, is part of the Indian Air Force’s Golden Arrows squadron.

She joined the Indian Air Force in 2017. Singh was commissioned in the Air Force’s second batch of women fighter pilots. She used to fly the MiG-21 Bison aircraft before the Rafale.

At Wednesday’s parade, the Air Force’s tableau was based on the theme of “Indian Air Force transforming for the future”.

It showed scaled-down models of Rafale jet and indigenously developed light combat helicopter and 3D surveillance radar Aslesha MK-1. The float also featured a scaled-down model of MiG-21 aircraft used in the 1971 war against Pakistan and also the model of India’s first indigenously developed aircraft Gnat.

Of the total 21 tableaux showcased at the parade, 12 belonged to the states and nine to ministries or government departments, according to The Indian Express. Floats on women empowerment, freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose, guiding principles of Lok Adalats, among others were featured during the parade.

Rafale jets

The Narendra Modi government had signed a deal with France in 2016 for 36 Rafael jets, as part of a Rs 59,000-crore agreement.

The first batch of five aircraft landed in India in July 2002, the second batch arrived in November 2020 and the third in January 2021. The Rafale jets are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in over two decades.

In December, the French embassy had said that 33 Rafale jets have already been delivered to India.

In photos: On Republic Day, India showcases military prowess, cultural diversity