New Delhi: The 'Heroes of Mumbai' will be the major attraction at the Republic Day parade this year, with the National Security Guard (NSG) sending a contingent to join the other uniformed services to march on the Rajpath for the first time in its history.
"The NSG will be sending its marching contingent to the parade for the first time this year in its nearly 25-year history. And this invitation comes in recognition of the service they rendered during the Mumbai terror strikes on November 26 last year," a Defence Ministry source told PTI
Earlier, the NSG's role during the Republic Day parade was limited only to providing security cover to the parade and the VVIPs present there.
Since its raising in 1984, NSG has been tasked to carry out anti-terrorist operations and to protect India's top
The government is likely to honour 14 security personnel from among the recommended names with top gallantry medals this year, sources said.
"Nine personnel are likely to be awarded the Ashok Chakra and five others, the Shaurya Chakra and Kirti Chakra," sources said.
Most of the personnel nominated for the gallantry medals participated in the 26/11 Mumbai operations and they include the three senior police officers, who died during the terrorist gunfire, sources said.
The gallantry award winners may include NSG commandos, who took over the operations from Navy's Marine Commandos (MARCOS) inside the Taj Mahal Hotel, Trident Hotel and the Nariman House building in Mumbai.
Slain NSG Major Sandip Unnikrishnan and Havaldar Gajinder Singh are being considered for Ashok Chakra, the highest peacetime gallantry award, the sources said.
Major Unnikrishnan died at the Taj hotel while Havaldar Singh died during the Nariman House operation.
Mumbai Police's Assistant Sub Inspector Tukaram Umble and Inspector Ashok Shinde are also being considered for the gallantry awards, sources said.
ASI Umble played a key role in capturing Amir Ajmal Kasab alive despite being hit by bullets from the terrorists' AK-47 assault rifle.
Inspector Shinde was one of the few Mumbai Police officials who managed to engage the terrorists in a gun battle at the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station and fired at them before getting killed.
Four other personnel from Army and state police forces are also being considered for the peacetime gallantry awards.
Because of the possible high number of gallantry award winners this year, sources said, the duration for the award presentation at the parade has been increased to 30 minutes from 10 minutes last year.