Army Day Celebrations: Why We Are Proud of Our Men In Uniform

Army Day Celebrations: Why We Are Proud of Our Men In Uniform

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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.

General Sir Roy Bucher (the outgoing Commander-in-Chief) and Lady Bucher at Government House, New Delhi, when they lunched with his Excellency, Shri C Rajagopalachari, and the new Commander-in-Chief, General KM Cariappa.
General Sir Roy Bucher (the outgoing Commander-in-Chief) and Lady Bucher at Government House, New Delhi, when they lunched with his Excellency, Shri C Rajagopalachari, and the new Commander-in-Chief, General KM Cariappa.
(Photo Courtesy: Normandy.info)

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.

The motto of the Indian Army.
The motto of the Indian Army.

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.

Armour and guns on the Baramulla Road, on 17 November  in the year 1947. A mechanised column of Damlier Armoured Cars and 25 Pounder Guns of the Indian Army moves along the road to Baramulla.
Armour and guns on the Baramulla Road, on 17 November in the year 1947. A mechanised column of Damlier Armoured Cars and 25 Pounder Guns of the Indian Army moves along the road to Baramulla.
(Photo Courtesy: Bharat Rakshak)

1962: The Sino-India war came as a tragic shock and 1,383 soldiers died defending the nation.

The Rezang La battle showcased the tremendous gallantry and heroism shown by soldiers in their last battle.
The Rezang La battle showcased the tremendous gallantry and heroism shown by soldiers in their last battle.
(Photo Courtesy: Bharat Rakshak)

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.

Here the Indian troops raise the Indian tricolour atop Hajipir Pass on 28 August 1965.
Here the Indian troops raise the Indian tricolour atop Hajipir Pass on 28 August 1965.
(Photo Courtesy: Bharat Rakshak)

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.

An Indian T-55 tank of ‘B’ Squadron, 63 Cavalry, leading the road to Khulna from Jessore - 35 miles away, says the stone post at left. It was not a cake walk, as the Pakistan Army put up a stiff and determined opposition at Khulna.
An Indian T-55 tank of ‘B’ Squadron, 63 Cavalry, leading the road to Khulna from Jessore - 35 miles away, says the stone post at left. It was not a cake walk, as the Pakistan Army put up a stiff and determined opposition at Khulna.
(Photo Courtesy: Bharat Rakshak)

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.

 Point 4825Back in Indian hands: Jawans with the flag on Point 4825, which was being held by the enemy in the Mushkoh Valley.
Point 4825Back in Indian hands: Jawans with the flag on Point 4825, which was being held by the enemy in the Mushkoh Valley.
(Photo Courtesy: Bharat Rakshak)

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.)

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