Facts about Indian Army Day


Since India got independence, the brave and courageous soldiers and jawans of the Indian Army have been serving the nation with pride and honour, laying down their lives to protect the country. So, to honour those valiant soldiers, Army Day is observed on 15th January every year.

It was the day in 1949, when the British General Sir Francis Butcher the last British commander-in-chief of India handed over the charge of Indian Army to the first Indian Field Marshal KM Cariappa (then a Lieutenant General). In recognition of this historic event of Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa’s (then a Lieutenant General) taking over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army and to honour him, 15th January is celebrated as Indian Army day every year in India. Field Marshal KM Cariappa who is the first Indian Army officer to hold a five-star rank, had led his troops in the World War II and the first Indo-Pak war of 1947.


Field Marshal Cariappa

Born on 28th January 1898, Field Marshal Sir KM Cariappa was the first commander-in-chief of the India Army after the independence.

“I am an Indian and to the last breath would remain an Indian,” are the lines once he said.

Field Marshal Cariappa was known for his bravery and ability to lead troops from the front, he had joined the Indian Army shortly after the First World War. He had fought on the frontlines in World War II and Indo-Pak war of 1947.

Field Marshal Cariappa is one of the two Indian Army officers to be awarded the five-star rank of Field Marshal. The other officer of the Indian Army to hold the five-star rank of Field Marshal was Sam Manekshaw.


How Army Day is celebrated?

India celebrates its 73nd Indian Army Day in New Delhi, on 15 January 2021. To honour and commemorate the valiant soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the country and its citizens Army Day marks a day.

Every year Param Vir Chakra and Ashok Chakra awardees participate in the Army Day parade. Combat exhibit, Military hardware and display of numerous contingents are part of the parade.

The Indian Army

“Service before self” is the motto of the Indian Army. The chief of Indian Army is General Manoj Mukund Naravane. Indian army has six operational commands and one training command.

Indian Army is one of the strongest and largest armies of the world. With 1,237,117 active troops and 960,000 reserve troops, it has not only stood strong during various wars but has fought many battles against terror also. It also carries out disaster relief humanitarian rescue operations during natural calamities and other disturbances.


Battles fought by Indian Army

Immediately after independence in 1947, tensions between India and Pakistan escalated, which led to the Indo-Pak war of 1947 over the then princely state of Kashmir. With the valiant support from the Indian Army, India gained control of about two-thirds of Kashmir, and was declared victorious in the war, as India was able to successfully defended most of the contested territory, including the Kashmir valley, Jammu, and Ladakh.

In 1962, there was a dispute over the sovereignty of the widely separated Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh border regions, which culminated into the Indo-Sino war of 1962.

In 1971, a military confrontation erupted between India’s Mitro bahini forces and Pakistan that occurred during the liberation war in East Pakistan. The Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 or Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 started at a time when the struggle for freedom was ongoing in East Pakistan. With the unconditional surrender of the Pakistan Army the war ended after thirteen days on December 16. At the end of the war on 16 December 1971, the Chief of the Pakistani Forces, General Niazi along with 93,000 of his soldiers surrendered to Indian Armed Forces and the Mukti Bahini led by General Jagjit Singh Aurora. East Pakistan was liberated and the creation of the new state of Bangladesh occurred. And since then, 16 December is celebrated as Vijay Diwas in India.

Indian Army has the control over the highest battlefield in the world named as Siachen Glacier. It is located in the eastern Karakoram Range in the Himalayas. It is on the northeast point, where the LOC between India and Pakistan ends. It is 5,000 metres above sea level. Since 1984, this Siachen Glacier is under the administration of India.

The operation Meghdoot of India gave it the control of the mountain glacier with all its tributaries. In April 1984, under secret Operation Meghadoot India urgently dispatched troops to Siachen. Indian troops reached the glacier a week prior than Pakistan. By the time Pakistan soldiers reached the region, India had already got control of the glacier and the adjacent Saltoro ridge, using Colonel Narendra (Bull) Kumar’s maps. After that, some Indians and Pakistan had disputes regarding the claim but Indian operation pre-empted Pakistan operation Abadi in one day to occupy the west area of Siachen Glacier. The result of this action was that Indian troops gained control of the entire Siachen Glacier.

The Kargil War, also known as the Kargil conflict, was an armed conflict fought between India and Pakistan from May to July of 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control (LoC). The Kargil war lasted for nearly three months. More than 500 Indian and nearly 400 Pakistani soldiers were killed. This war ended with India successfully pushing back Pakistani troops to the other side of the LoC.

The Indian Army is involved in various military exercises with various military forces of the different countries like Exercise Yuddh Abhyas is conducted between military forces of India and the USA, Exercise Shakti is conducted between India and France, Exercise Nomadic Elephant is another series of exercises held by the Indian Army with the Mongolian Army. Such military engagements help in strengthening the strategic and bilateral relations of India with other countries.

Arms and ammunitions

Talking about the armoured power of the India, in 2020, India had the third largest annual defence budget of USD $70 Billion. Numerous procurements are taking place keeping in view the Indian Army’s modernisation.

Starting from semi-automatic pistol, battle rifles, submachine guns, assault rifles like INSAS, sniper rifles like Dragunov SDV, Light machine guns like INSAS LMG, Indian Army is equipped with various armoured combat vehicles like Arjun MBT, T90S Bhishma, T-72 Ajeya, etc.

Other than these armoured combat vehicles, Indian army commands artillery like Pinaka MBRL, K9 Vajra-T, DRDO Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), etc.

Indian Army has also taken control of various missile systems such as Agni and Prithvi, 2 nuclear-capable basaltic missiles, etc.

Prithvi, the short-range ballistic missile, was developed under the integrated guided missile development programme by DRDO of India.

Another one is Agni missile, also developed by India, is under the category of long-range nuclear weapons. The Agni missile system series has reached to Agni-6, which is the intercontinental ballistic missile. Agni-6 is the latest and the advanced version of the Agni missile program.


Combat Arms

Indian Army has 65 armoured regiments. An Indian infantry regiment’s responsibility is to provide battalions and well trained personnel to the field formations. The Mechanised Infantry is the newest combat arm of the Indian Army. The second largest arm of the Indian Army is the Regiment of Artillery, constituting nearly one sixth of the Army’s total strength. The Army Aviation Corps was established on 1st November 1986, it is the aviation arm of the Indian Army. Recently Army Chief General M.M. Naravane told media that 1st batch of Women Chopper Pilots will be deployed in Indian Army Aviation Corps.