Army mela fascinates public - The New Indian Express

Army mela fascinates public

Published: 09th December 2012 10:03 AM

Last Updated: 09th December 2012 10:03 AM

Parachutists dropping out of the blue sky, speeding bike riders leaping over 20 men, show jumping involving some of the best-trained horses in the country and flashy tent-pegging demos- there never was a dull moment at the Colachal Stadium, Pangode, on Saturday as the ‘Know Your Army Mela 2012’ opened here to a packed crowd.

The two-day event is meant to bring the Army and the people of Thiruvananthapuram closer to each other, and to encourage youngsters to join the armed forces.

The highlight of the event is an exhibition of military equipment including battle tanks, missiles and guns. 

Inaugurating the event, Defence Minister A K Antony promised full government attention for the welfare of serving and ex-service armed forces personnel.

“The Centre had hiked the pension of ex-servicemen twice and would do so again when an opportunity comes,” he said.

“The armed forces were on hand to assist the State Government at times of contingencies such as natural calamities,” he said. He gave away tri-scooters to disabled ex-servicemen and honoured widows of soldiers killed in various wars and counter-insurgency operations. A series of demonstrations by various units of the Army followed. Armymen showed off their tent-pegging skills first, which was followed by kalaripayattu, show jumping and skydiving demos. A dog show involving five Army Labradors and an Alsatian drew cheer, and so did  a breathtaking stunt ride by the ‘Shweta Ashwa’ team of Army police.

The one-and-a-half hour show ended with the ‘extraction’ of commandos by a helicopter.

Minister of State for HRD Shashi Tharoor; Southern Army commander Lt Gen A K Singh and  Commanding Officer of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala area Lt Gen V K Pillai, actor and Lt Colonel of the Territorial Army Mohanlal were present.  The mela will conclude on Sunday and entry is free.

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