India celebrates January 15 as Army Day, a tribute to all brave-hearts who sacrificed their life for the motherland. It is also set aside to hail the office of the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, given that Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa (KM Cariappa) was appointed the first office bearer on the day in 1949.
This year marks the 74th Army Day. To mark the occasion, the chiefs of the tri-services, General Naravane (Army), Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari (Air Force), and Admiral R Hari Kumar (Navy), paid tributes at the National War Memorial in New Delhi.
Calling the forces “courageous and professional,” defence minister Rajnath Singh extended his wishes to Indian Army personnel and their families.
An elaborate parade to show off India’s new acquisitions stole the limelight. Showcased at the event were sophisticated machines and air-drills. Also unveiled on the day was a new uniform for the Army. Like the previous camouflage trooper, this one has the same colours in an even more intricate pattern.
General Naravane also spoke about the role of women in the armed forces. “Now they can take on higher positions and bigger responsibilities. This year will flag off women cadets in the NDA and also in the Air Force as pilots.” Speaking about the standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, he added: “Last year was extremely challenging for the Army. Joint efforts at various levels led to disengagement in many areas which is a constructive step. The recent 14th round of high-military talks managed to de-escalate tensions. We are keeping a close watch.”
President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday praised the Indian Army and said it has been pivotal in ensuring national security. “Our soldiers have displayed professionalism, sacrifice and valour in defending borders and maintaining peace. The nation is grateful for your service. Jai Hind!” Kovind tweeted.
A bit of history: On April 1, 1895, an army was formed under the British administration and came to be known as the British Indian Army. Post-Independence, the nation did not have its an Army chief right until January 15, 1949. Lt Gen KM Cariappa succeeded General Francis Butcher (the last British commander-in-chief of the Indian Army) and became the first commander-in-chief of the Indian Armed forces in 1949.