Indian Army Day is celebrated on January 15 every year commemorating the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa taking over from General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander-in-Chief of India, on January 15, 1949. This historic transition marked the complete transfer of command of the once British Indian Army into the hands of the Indian army and established it as a truly indigenous force.
Indian Army Day pays tribute to the courageous men and women who have sacrificed their lives to safeguard the sovereignty and integrity of our nation since independence. It is an occasion to acknowledge the selfless service and bravery of the Indian soldiers who guard India’s borders in extreme terrain and weather, facing threats from both external and internal forces.
Traditions and Ceremonies on Indian Army Day
Various commemorative events and traditions mark the occasion of Indian Army Day at military stations across India:
– Wreath Laying Ceremony: Tributes are paid at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate in Delhi and war memorials in other cities.
– Parades: Marching parades and drills are held showcasing military skills and equipment to spectators.
– Investiture Ceremonies: Gallantry awards are presented to brave soldiers for acts of valor.
– Songs and Seminars: Patriotic songs are sung and seminars conducted highlighting army’s role and achievements.
– Open Houses: Army bases hold open days with weapon and vehicle demonstrations attended by citizens.
– Community Outreach: Army units carry out cleanliness drives, medical camps and felicitate veterans in local communities.
The day instills a sense of gratitude towards soldiers’ selfless service in citizens and underscores India’s strength as a secure democratic nation.
Branches of the Indian Army
Over the decades, the Indian army has expanded into various specialized branches to secure land, air and borders effectively:
– Infantry: Backbone force trained for border guarding, counter-insurgency and high altitude warfare.
– Armoured Corps: Operation and maintenance of tanks, armored vehicles and attack helicopters.
– Artillery: Deploys guns, missiles, rockets and weapon locating radars for target destruction support.
– Army Aviation: Helicopter fleet for reconnaissance, casualty evacuation, special missions and combat roles.
– Corps of Engineers: Construction of infrastructure in tactical areas, bridging of rivers and route opening.
– Signals: Responsible for ground, satellite and radio communications assuring battlefield C4I systems.
– Army Service Corps: Handles logistic requirements like rationing, transport, ordnance and maintenance.
Together this 1.3 million strong force is constantly modernizing itself to tackle the evolving security challenges.
Major Operations and Achievements
Since independence, the Indian Army has undertaken many successful operations to protect national integrity and people some of which include:
– 1947-48 War with Pakistan (Jammu and Kashmir Liberation): First war post independence.
– 1962 Sino-Indian War (NEFA): Deployed against Chinese territorial aggression along Himalayan frontiers.
– 1965 and 1971 Wars with Pakistan: Played decisive roles in securing decisive victories over Pakistan.
– 1987-till date Operation in J&K: Engaged in counter-insurgency & counter-terrorism operations.
– 1999 Kargil War: Ejected Pakistani intruders from strategically crucial heights in Dras, Kaksar, Batalik sectors.
– 2001-till date Operations in North East: Assists civil authorities to maintain law and order.
– 2004 Tsunami Relief: Conducted largest ever humanitarian relief across Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India.
– 2013 Uttarakhand Floods Relief: Led rescue of thousands stranded in devastated areas.
The army protects India’s territorial integrity in challenging circumstances through its professionalism and sacrifice.
Maintaining Camaraderie and Tradition
A strong sense of comradeship and spirit de corps is intrinsic in the Indian Army. Some of the ways this is instilled:
– Regimental Centres: Glorious regimental histories and traditions passed to young recruits.
– Sainik Schools: Residential schools nurture military ethos and discipline amongst cadets.
– National Defence Academy: Premier tri-service academy builds character and leadership.
– Army Golf Courses: Opportunities for recreation, bonding and friendly sports competitions.
– Station Day Celebrations: Festive traditions unique to garrisons are commemorated.
– Retired Veterans: Ex-servicemen associations keep unit & corps fraternity alive.
– Veer Naris: Army Wives Welfare assocs extend support to families of martyrs and veterans.
This camaraderie and esprit de corps has been the driving force behind extraordinary acts of gallantry and sacrifice by soldiers over the years.
Indian Army Day instills appreciation of the immense contribution of soldiers in safeguarding national security. It commemorates the valiant men and women who steadfastly defend Indian borders against external threats as well as aid civil authorities in maintaining internal stability. As the army continues to evolve and strengthen itself, citizens must acknowledge its role in building a strong, secure and prosperous India. Jai Hind!