Army Day Celebrations: Why We Are Proud of Our Men In Uniform
Origin of India’s Army Day
15 January is celebrated as the Army Day in India. The choice of the day dates back to 1948.
Upon independence, four of the ten Gurkha regiments were transferred to the British Army. The rest of the British Indian Army was divided between the newly created nations of India and Pakistan.
On 15 January 1949, Lieutenant General KM Cariappa took over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander-in-Chief of India.
The units and regiments of the Indian Army have diverse histories and have participated in a number of battles and campaigns across the world, earning a large number of battle and theatre honours before and after independence.
With its motto "Service Before Self", the Indian Army is the world’s largest volunteer army. With over 12 lakh active personnel on its rolls, it is the third largest army in the world. The Indian Army is a big part of the UN Peacekeeping Force and one of the rare few armies in the world to have not initiated a war.
When Conflict Was Thrust Upon Us
1947: The First Indo-Pak War in late 1947 and 1948 saw nearly 1,500 martyred in line of duty.
1962: The Sino-India war came as a tragic shock and 1,383 soldiers died defending the nation.
1965: Then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and Defence Minister Yashwantrao Chavan gave a free hand to the Indian Army after the Pakistani army tried to destabilise Jammu and Kashmir. Nearly 3,000 Indian soldiers died defending the nation in the 22-day long war.
1971: When Bangladesh was carved out to rescue the region’s people from Pakistan’s savagery, India actively backed the eastern neighbour. India lost 3,800 soldiers. The surrender of nearly one lakh army men of Pakistan at the hands of India is yet another feat to write home about. The Indian Army then handed over the PoWs back to Pakistan after the war had officially ended and the documents of surrender were signed by Pakistani authorities.
1999: The Kargil war shocked India and the world. It was a completely uncalled for misadventure from Pakistan’s side in the snowy peaks of Kargil in Kashmir. Over 500 Indian soldiers laid down their lives to chase the Pakistani soldiers out of India.
On this Army Day, we at The Quint salute the Indian Army for everything that it stands for.
Video Editor: Mohd Ibrahim
(This article was originally published on 15 January 2017 and has been republished from The Quint’s archives.)