With the 72nd Republic Day Celebrations underway, its no surprise that the nation is all set to witness a full, albeit socially distanced display of its Military might. And its a matter of great pride that this year, Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth, one of the first women fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force (IAF), will feature prominently in the IAF tableau during the Republic Day parade, while Flight Lieutenant Swathi Rathore will be the first woman to lead a flypast overhead. The two women will have undoubtedly created history this day.In 2016, Kanth was the first woman to qualify for combat missions after she completed the operational syllabus on the MiG-21 Bison jet. She was then posted in the Nal Airbase on the Indo-Pakistan border, and has even qualified for night-time flying operations, as well. Since Kanth made history, the IAF has inducted six women into the fighter stream.Ahead of the parade, Union Minister for Health Family Welfare, Science Tech, and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan, took to twitter to commend the IAF on the remarkable development. In his tweet, he wrote, Marking the dawn of empowered women-led #NewIndia. Flt Lt Bhawana Kanth is set to become the first woman fighter pilot to take part in the Republic Day parade. Indeed a proud moment for the entire country! @IAF_MCC.Commenting on his daughters achievements, Dr Bhavani Singh Rathore, deputy director, Agriculture, Rajasthan, said, My daughter (Swati) has let me hold my head high. I am overwhelmed as the dream which she saw has turned into reality.And while were excited to see what else the parade has in store for us, were eager to understand whats different this year.New Additions: Purchased from France and inducted into the IAF in September 2020, the Rafale fighter jets will participate in the parade for the first time. So far, 11 of the 36 jets have been inducted. The parade will also witness its first participation by a womanFlight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth, who will be a part of the IAFs display showcasing mock-ups of the light combat aircraft (LCA), light combat helicopter (LCH), and the Sukhoi-30 fighters. The parade will also witness a first IAF flypast being led by a womanFlight Lieutenant Swati Rathore, scripting history and cementing the role of women in Indias Military. A 122-soldier strong contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces will participate in the parade.Whats Been Curtailed: For the first time in over five decades, the Republic Day parade will not have a chief guest. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declined the invitation owing to the rising cases of COVID-19. According to a statement from PM Modis office, PM Johnson reiterated his thanks for India's invitation for him as the Chief Guest of the forthcoming Republic Day celebrations, but regretted his inability to attend in view of the changed COVID-19 context prevailing in the UK. He reiterated his keenness to visit India in the near future. In the past, India didnt have a chief guest for the parade in 1952, 1953, and 1966. Give the various social distancing protocols this year, the number of spectators allowed at the parade has been reduced from 1,50,000 to 25,000. The number of media personnel allowed to attend, has also reduced from 300 to 200. Unlike previous years, the 2021 Republic Day Parade will only be allowed to go till the National Stadium at the C-Hexagon of India Gate. Only the various displays and tableaux are permitted to the Red Fort. Unlike previous years that featured various happenings like the Veterans Parade by ex-service men and women, motorcycles stunts by troops, or the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel, all events have been cancelled. No children below the age of 15 will be permitted at the India Gate lawns. There will also be no enclosure for schoolchildren.