Republic Day 2021: Preeti Chowdhary only woman commander from Army this year
On Tuesday, Captain Preeti Chowdhary, led the upgraded Schilika weapon system on hallowed Rajpath. It was a moment of multiple celebrations for the Indian Army.
On Republic day, Schilika got featured at the Republic Day Parade for the first time. Captain Preeti Chowdhary was the only woman Army officer to lead a contingent this year. The upgraded Schilika can track and shoot enemy targets up to 2 kilometres on the ground and about 2.5 kilometres in the air. It is equipped with modern radar and digital fire control computers. It has the ability to destroy wartime targets for low-level air defense in all-weather, keeping an accurate eye on targets.
On being the only woman contingent commander from the Indian Army, Preeti said, “I received this opportunity because it is my regiment’s equipment, not due to my gender.”
During the passing-out parade of Officers Training Academy Captain Preeti was awarded the sword of honour, which is meant for the best all round cadet of the batch. With this award she became the first woman of Chandigarh to be awarded the Sword of Honour. She was also Chandigarh’s first air NCC Cadet to be selected for that honour.
Captain Preeti graduated from the Government College for Girls in computer science, Chandigarh. She said, “I come from a ‘science background’ that being said, if any girl wants to join the defence forces they need to have a science degree as well, while boys have various options, including joining from Class XII. While ladies are eager to join the defence forces, the vacancies are still limited. I’d say there are more ladies applying than there are vacancies.”
Captain Preeti’s father, honorary Captain Inder Singh served in Army Medical Corps. She talked about her inspiration and said, “My father was in AMC (Army Medical Corps), and after he passed away in 2014, he was my biggest inspiration to be in the defence forces. Earlier, we kept moving to different places with dad, who was an honorary captain. We are now settled in Zirakhpur, a city next to Chandigarh. I did my schooling and was also an NCC cadet in Chandigarh itself, where I was an Air Wing cadet.”
Interestingly, Captain Preeti was part of the National Cadet Corps and in the Republic Day Parade of 2016, she took part as an NCC cadet.