If you want to be floored by Shwet Ashwa and Thang Ta and tell the ATGM from the BMP, head to the Royal Calcutta Turf Club this weekend.
The second largest armed force in the world will pull out all the stops to impress civilians at the Military Tattoo, supported by The Telegraph, at the Army Training and Polo Ground, RCTC, on February 2 and 3. Entry will be from the Kidderpore crossing side.
Curiosity is the only gate pass needed at the event — with the motto “know your army” — where anti-tank guided missiles or ATGMs and amphibious fighting vehicles called BMPs would be on display among the arsenal and artillery at the disposal of the Eastern Command, headquartered at Fort William.
“Arsenal and equipment from all over the Eastern Command were mobilised and brought to Calcutta for the Republic Day parade. We have taken the opportunity to invite civilians to take a look at the might of the Indian defence,” said Lieutenant General A.K. Choudhary, general officer commanding (GOC) of the Bengal Area.
A show of Thang Ta, a weapon-based martial art practised by the Assam Regiment, would be the highlight at the event, which is being held since the 1980s.
“Thang Ta is the new component this year. The primary objective of the Military Tattoo is to draw as many citizens as possible, so we introduce a new discipline every year,” said an army officer.
A performance by Shwet Ashwa, a team of daredevil army motorcyclists, will be another draw. “Trick riding and formation riding stunts by Shwet Ashwa draw the maximum cheer from children along with the equestrian events,” said the officer.
The army equipment, including T-72 main battle tanks, will be on view between 10am and 3pm on both days.
Between 3.30pm and 6pm, officers from various regiments will perform daredevil stunts.
“We have invited most schools in the city to bring their students to the event. We want children to know about the army and it’s contributions from a young age,” said an officer.
The event will also help draw youngsters to a career in the armed forces, feel officers. “Many young people do not have information about career options in the armed forces. Events like Military Tattoo will raise awareness,” said Lieutenant General Choudhary.